Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is throwing her support behind Councilmember Brad Lander in the crowded Democratic primary race for city comptroller.
It’s the Congresswoman’s first endorsement in a citywide race.
“Brad understands that, for government to be able to deliver the bold transformative change we need, it has to work for and with the people,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement.
Lander, who currently represents parts of Brooklyn including Park Slope, Cobble Hill and Carrol Gardens is running to succeed Scott Stringer, who is running for mayor.
The primary race also includes City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, State Senator Brian Benjamin, Assemblyman David Weprin, State Senator Kevin Parker, nonprofit entrepreneur Zach Iscol and Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, a CNBC contributor who challenged Ocasio-Cortez in a congressional primary last year.
Since launching his campaign, Lander had secured the support of several unions, progressive groups, the Working Families Party and lawmakers, including Rep. Jamaal Bowman and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
But despite Lander’s institutional support, the race was shaken up weeks ago with Johnson’s late entry into the contest.
Johnson, who had previously been expected to launch a campaign for mayor, decided against that run last summer. He announced he would run for comptroller instead earlier this month.
Ocasio-Cortez’s endorsement is highly coveted. She is considered a powerful progressive ally on the left and although she has not said if she will make an endorsement in the race for mayor, she has shown willingness to back candidates in other states and contests as she seeks to define her influence within the Democratic Party at the national level.
“Alexandria models, better than anyone else in politics, the transformative potential in making government more transparent, accessible, and accountable to the goals of making life better for working families and securing a better future for all our communities,” Lander said in a statement.
Lander is close to hitting fundraising limits in the race, so Ocasio-Cortez’s backing could signify new enthusiasm for his candidacy specifically among progressive Democratic voters.