A former NYPD police officer and retired high school teacher is mounting a bid for Rep. Alexandria Cortez’s House seat in 2020.
John Cummings, a 59-year-old Bronx resident said the Cortez, a former socialist bartender inspired him to launch his campaign for her 14th district congressional seat. Cummings had long considered running but believed it impossible to defeat the previous incumbent, former Congressman Joe Crowley.
“To just come from the outside and take somebody on is really difficult,” Cummings told the New York Post. “It was pointed out to me by my students that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pretty much made my excuse – and I’ll use their quotes – ‘a lame one.’”
Cummings, who calls himself a “small-government guy,” filed paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission earlier this month to declare his candidacy as a Republican in a district the overwhelmingly liberal district.
Ocasio-Cortez won the 14th Congressional District with more than 78 percent of the vote, and Hillary Clinton led the district by over 57 points in 2016.
In an interview with Fox News, Cumming said he is confident he can win as a Republican in the blue district, though it will be an “uphill battle.”
“I think this transcends party, I think people are really interested in local representation and that’s something that we’ve seriously lacked in that district for a long time,” he said.
Cortez ignores home-grown problems and is “only interested in a national platform, and we need local representation, Cummings argues, while he, on the other hand, understands the perils socialism poses to the country and his district.
“I despise socialism, I despise everything about it. For many years, the Democrats have flirted with socialism … and now they are almost knocking each other over to see who can grab the socialist ring first,” he told the network. “When you’re doing so in a climate where the economy is really chugging along, unemployment is low…everything seems to be moving in the right direction, and now you’re going to flip the script? I think it’s outrageous and I think people know that at the local level.”
Following in his father’s footsteps, Cummings joined the NYPD in 1983 and worked in the South Bronx. He was then transferred to NYPD’s Harbor Unit, where he retired after suffering a knee injury.
After leaving the police force, he went back to school and financed his education with private security work.
When he graduated he began teaching at his alma mater, Saint Raymond High School for Boys, in the Parkchester section of the Bronx.
Cummings is among four other Republicans who have filed for Cortez’s seat, including medical journalist Ruth Papazian, construction contractor Miguel Hernandez, entrepreneur Antoine Tucker and businesswoman Sherie Murray.
Murray, a Jamaican immigrant, warns Cortez’s far-left leadership presents a “crisis” for the district.
“Instead of focusing on us, she’s focusing on being famous. Mainly rolling back progress and authoring the job-killing Green New Deal and killing the Amazon New York deal,” she said.
Amid Cortez’s surging national profile, a multimillion-dollar mystery donor has pledged to support a challenge from the right.
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