Will Ocasio-Cortez show up to in-person NY-14 debate in Parkchester?

The Mother of All Debates 2020
The NY-14 debate being held Wednesday by the Parkchester Times, which AOC has refused to go to.
Courtesy of the Parkchester Times

After participating in virtual debates on BronxNet and NY1, it seems that Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is backing away from an in-person faceoff.

A debate sponsored by the Parkchester Times is being held June 17 at 7 p.m. at the Golden Place at 1451 Unionport Rd. and Gary Axelbank will be the moderator. It will be live streamed on Facebook.

However, on Monday when the Bronx Times spoke with Lauren Hitt, a spokesperson for AOC, she said that Ocasio-Cortez is declining the invitation. This leaves Michelle Caruso-Cabrera and Badrun Khan to square off.

“The congresswoman has previously participated in two hour-long debates,” Hitt said in a statement. “One hosted by BronxNet and the other by NY1. Both debates were broadcast on TV and both remain available online for voters.”

Hitt stressed that although the Parkchester Times is following social distancing guidelines and confirmed there will be no one in the audience, the congresswoman still will not attend.

Caruso-Cabrera likened Ocasio-Cortez’s actions to that of her predecessor, Joe Crowley, who failed to show up to debates according to the candidate’s spokesperson Katy Delgado.

On June 14, the staff for Caruso-Cabrera hand delivered a letter to Ocasio asking why she wasn’t participating in Wednesday’s debate. Courtesy of Michelle Caruso-Cabrera

“What I cannot understand, therefore, is why you would deprive your constituents with this opportunity to participate more fully in the democratic process by robbing them of the only face-to-face debate of this primary,” the letter stated. “Why you would once again reinforce the sad reality that “AOC is M.I.A,” Delgado said. “If you dodge or skip this debate, you will affirm the suspicion I have heard shared by many that underneath the celebrity image you’ve cultivated, you do not understand this community, you do not truly fight for it, and you do not care about it enough to show up.”

The Bronx Times reached out to Ocasio-Cortez’s office for a follow-up comment on Tuesday, but they did not respond by the time this story went to press.

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