Former Gov. David Paterson said that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hasn’t been nearly as influential as the media makes her out to be.
Former New York Gov. David Paterson dismissed US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s influence as a “phantom of the media” after left-wing candidates endorsed by the socialist firebrand suffered brutal losses in last week’s primaries.
“AOC are just three letters in the alphabet,” the 68-year-old Democrat said in an interview on WABC radio’s “The Cats Roundtable” aired Sunday.
Paterson was asked by host John Catsimatidis about the Tuesday primary results in which the majority of left-wing state Assembly contenders were unsuccessful in their efforts to expand their presence in Albany by ousting more moderate Democrats.
Asked if the losses represented “the rise and fall of AOC,” the Democratic former governor replied, “I don’t know if there ever was a rise, John.”
“I think AOC, who defeated a congressman who was notably absent from his district a lot, so she outworked him and she beat him, and then she became this overnight, national success,” Paterson said, referring to longtime ex-US Rep. Joe Crowley, who AOC toppled in a major upset in the June 2018 Democratic primary for the Queens and Bronx House seat.
“But really, there’s no evidence that it had any coattails, not in this 2022 primary, but not even in the 2020 elections,” he added. “I think she is really a phantom of the media, the media projects her.”
Representatives for Ocasio-Cortez did not respond to a request for comment.
In last week’s primary elections, AOC-endorsed state Assembly hopefuls Samy Nemir Olivares Keron Alleyne, Illapa Sairitupac and Vanessa Agudelo, among others, were all defeated by establishment Democrats.
Paterson cited the statewide contest — in which Hochul and her handpicked Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado cruised to victory — as evidence that New Yorkers aren’t buying what AOC-aligned politicians are selling.
“If you look at the gubernatorial primary, Hochul got 66%, [New York City Public Advocate] Jumaane Williams gets 16%, and so she beat the progressive by 50 points, and the other 18% or so went to [moderate US Rep.] Tom Suozzi,” he told Catsimatidis.
Ocasio-Cortez, 32, gave her stamp of approval to Williams’ running mate Ana María Archila, but did not weigh in on the governor’s race.
Paterson also cast doubt on the narrative that Ocasio-Cortez’s opposition was largely responsible for driving Amazon to back out in February 2019 of its previously announced plan to build a new campus in Long Island City.
“She was given credit for stopping Amazon from coming into New York. It had nothing to do with her,” said the former state senator. “It had to do with the legislators being angry that Governor [Andrew] Cuomo had never told them that he was negotiating with them, and took all the credit for himself.”
“My overall thought to your original question about AOC,” Paterson said, “is [that] AOC are just three letters in the alphabet.”