Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez releases a video endorsing Maya Wiley for New York City mayor

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez releases a video endorsing Maya Wiley for New York City mayor
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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks at the rally where she endorsed progressive candidates in upcoming election for city wide offices in City Hall Park.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks at the rally where she endorsed progressive candidates in upcoming election for city wide offices in City Hall Park. Lev Radin/Getty Images
  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted a video backing NYC mayoral candidate Maya Wiley on Wednesday.

  • AOC's endorsement earlier this month has coincided with a polling boost for Wiley.

  • Ranked choice voting is new to this year's race, and early voting is underway.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez released a video on Wednesday detailing her endorsement of Democratic New York City mayoral candidate Maya Wiley.

With less than a week to go before the city's Democratic primary, early voting is already underway, and the crowded field is further complicated by the city's debut of ranked choice voting.

The second-term congresswoman wields one of the most powerful endorsements for Democrats seeking to consolidate the progressive vote in the contentious mayoral election. But Wiley, a civil rights attorney and former cable news analyst, is facing off against several other more moderate candidates, including Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, and former sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia. Whichever Democrat wins the primary will likely prevail in the general election this fall.

"We have an option of a candidate who can center people, racial justice, economic justice, and climate justice, that didn't just come up to run for mayor, but has experience and has a lifetime of dedication to this," Ocasio-Cortez said in the video, which pulled from her endorsement speech earlier this month.

She added, "Maya Wiley grew up in the movement and she understands and appreciates the importance of grassroots organizing, not just in supporting but in leading movements, in being the north star for policy."

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Ocasio-Cortez appeared with Wiley at a campaign rally outside City Hall in Manhattan last week to announce that Wiley would be her first choice of candidates in the city's new ranked-choice electoral system. This allows people to vote for several candidates in addition to their top choice.

The congresswoman largely stayed out of the race until the final days, but has been repeatedly critical of a few candidates, including Yang.

Much of the public polling on the 2021 mayoral race has been sporadic and limited, with New York's three biggest pollsters - Marist College, Siena College, and Quinnipiac University - sitting out the race until this week, when Marist released a poll in conjunction with WNBC, Telemundo, and Politico.

Simulating ranked choice voting is the most common reason cited by pollsters for holding off on the Democratic primary, and some have tried while others have done a more conventional horse race model.

Wiley had struggled to break out for months, but now sits somewhere in the top three to four candidates, consolidating progressive backers as New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer's campaign has stalled. Two women have accused Stringer of sexual assault in the early 2000s. Stringer has denied the allegations and any wrongdoing.

After rounding up the most support from the party's left wing early on, Stringer has since lost several prominent progressive endorsements - including a mass defection from Ocasio-Cortez's cohort in the New York State Legislature - with some switching to rivals while others have held off.

Wiley, for her part, has improved her fundraising in recent months, reaching more small donors and getting creative with The Strokes performing for one.

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