By Andrew Kerr
Ocasio-Cortez’s reelection campaign has reported receiving contributions from just 10 individuals living within her district in the first half of 2019, according to its Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings.
The FEC only requires that political campaigns disclose the names and addresses of individuals who contribute over $200 to their campaigns during an election. Campaigns report their big-dollar donors to the FEC in what’s called itemized contributions.
The $1,525.50 Ocasio-Cortez received from her New York constituents represents less than 1% of her campaign’s itemized contributions reported to the FEC in the first half of 2019.
The known monetary support Ocasio-Cortez’s reelection campaign has received from the people she represents is minuscule compared to the 88-member freshman class of the House of Representatives.
The average freshman representative’s reelection campaign received $107,141.29 in itemized contributions from their constituents in the first half of 2019, FEC filings the DCNF analyzed show. Ocasio-Cortez’s reported in-district fundraising haul of $1,525.50 was just 1.4% of that average.
The Ocasio-Cortez campaign didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment seeking additional information regarding how many of her un-itemized contributions came from her constituents.
However, Ocasio-Cortez holds a significant lead over the freshman class in the amount of small-dollar contributions she’s received. Just 17% of Ocasio-Cortez’s individual contributions were from big-dollar donors who gave over $200 to her campaign in the first half of 2019. The median freshman representative received nearly 89% of their individual contributions from big-dollar donors.
Each representative is answerable to a congressional district comprised of between 530,000 to 995,000 people, according to the U.S. Census. The DCNF determined which of Ocasio-Cortez’s donors came from her congressional district by comparing the nine-digit zip codes her contributors reported to the FEC to the House of Representatives ZipLook tool, which links nine-digit zip codes to congressional districts.
Only one freshman representative reported receiving less from their constituents than Ocasio-Cortez: Democratic Rep. Sylvia Garcia of Texas. Garcia’s reelection campaign reported itemized contributions of $14,400, all of which came from individuals with addresses outside her district.
Ocasio-Cortez’s apparent lackluster fundraising performance from her constituents lends credibility to a poll conducted by a Democratic PAC in July. It found that only 22% of households in the representative’s district held a favorable opinion of her. (RELATED: Ocasio-Cortez Could Have An Amazon-Sized Problem In Her Home District)
The data also reveal that two of Ocasio-Cortez’s colleagues in the so-called “Squad” of freshman Democratic congresswomen — Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan — also rank among the lowest-performing freshman representatives in terms of reported financial support from people who live within their districts.
Tlaib reported receiving $470,430.11 in itemized contributions in the first half of 2019, but less than 2% came from individuals living within her district.
And while Omar reported $717,831.22 in itemized contributions to her reelection campaign so far in 2019, just over 4% came from her constituents.
A fourth squad member, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, far outperformed the others. The Massachusetts Democrat received more than 30% of her $248,280.78 itemized contributions from her constituents.
Freshman Republicans dominated freshman Democrats in receiving a greater share of their reported contributions from the people they represent.
Of the 10 freshman representatives who received the lowest percentage of their itemized contributions from their constituents, eight are Democrats. On the other end, seven of the 10 top-performing freshman representatives in this category are Republicans.
Leading the freshman class in receiving the greatest share of itemized contributions from their constituents was Republican Rep. Dusty Johnson. Over 94% of Johnson’s itemized contributions of $129,250 came from people living within his district.
An Economist and YouGov survey in July found that Americans have a very unfavorable view of the “Squad.” Just 33% of Americans have a favorable view of Ocasio-Cortez, followed by Omar with a 25% combined favorability rating, Tlaib with 24%, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts with 22%.
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