The Courage to Change PAC also spent $84,288 in the first three months of 2020, with about half going for operating expenses and $36,000 to her hand-picked federal candidates — eight females progressives.
Separately, Ocasio-Cortez raised an impressive $2.7 million in 2020 alone for her own election to New York’s 14th Congressional District.
Just a freshman, Ocasio-Cortez has proven her fundraising prowess in her short time in Washington. Her move in February to announce a leadership PAC further demonstrated her desire to expand her influence across the country and to buck the traditional party establishment of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).
Frustrated by the DCCC’s incumbent protection programs that disadvantaged insurgent candidates like herself, AOC launched her Courage to Change PAC to give progressive challengers a chance to compete against established incumbents.
The PAC “seeks to reward challengers and incumbents who display political courage — people who refuse to bow to establishment pressure, who advocate ferociously for working-class families, and who have lived the same struggles as the people they seek to represent,” the Courage to Change website says.
Records filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) this week show the PAC raised nearly a half of million dollars in the first three months of 2020. More than 73 percent of the contributions were from small donations under $200. AOC also contributed $5,000 from her own campaign account.
Most of the spending so far — about $42,000 — was for operating expenses, including advertising, website development and fundraising fees.
The first round of donations totaled $36,000 and only went to female progressives. Two candidates — Jessica Cisneros and Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez — have already lost their elections in Texas, but one — Marie Newman — scored a huge victory by picking off an incumbent Democrat in Illinois.
AOC announced her first round of Courage to Change endorsements in February of seven candidates. Records show that one of the candidates hasn’t gotten any money yet from the PAC: Georgette Gómez, who is seeking to succeed the retiring Rep. Susan Davis, D-Calif.
Despite the lack of direct funding so far, Gomez, who is president of the San Diego City Council, advanced to the November election where she’ll face fellow Democrat Sara Jacobs, a former policy adviser to Hillary Clinton.
Meanwhile, two House incumbents not on the original slate of endorsements got funding, too: Reps. Katie Porter, D-Calif., and Jahana Hayes, D-Conn. They entered Congress at the same time as Ocasio-Cortez and made up a record class of female freshmen elected in 2018.
Here are the eight candidates who benefited from her efforts, according to PAC filings:
- Samelys López, who is running for the Bronx congressional seat vacated by Rep. Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., got $5,000.
- Kara Eastman, who is running to become the Democratic nominee in Nebraska to take on GOP Rep. Don Bacon in November, got $5,000.
- Freshman incumbent Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., got $2,800.
- Freshman incumbent Rep. Jahana Hayes, D-Conn., got $2,800.
- Marie Newman, who beat incumbent Democrat Rep. Dan Lipinski in the Illinois primary in March, received $5,000.
- Jessica Cisneros, who lost to incumbent Dem Rep. Henry Cuellar in the Texas primary last month, got $5,000.
- Teresa Leger Fernandez, candidate for New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District to succeed Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, who is running for the Senate, received $5,000.
- Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, who lost in the Texas Democratic primary in March for a chance to take on GOP Sen. John Cornyn in November, got $5,000.