By Ginger Gibson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has been in the middle of a controversy that includes House Democratic leadership and President Donald Trump, raised $1.2 million for her re-election in the second quarter, an impressive haul for a freshman lawmaker.
The bulk of Ocasio-Cortez's fundraising came in donations of less than $200 - an indication that she is successfully raising money online from grassroots supporters.
At the end of June, the Democratic New York congresswoman had $1.4 million in cash, according to disclosures her re-election campaign filed on Monday. That was a sharp uptick for Ocasio-Cortez, who raised $2.1 million for her entire first election campaign.
Ocasio-Cortez's fundraising haul leaves her well positioned ahead of when she is likely to run for re-election in 2020. Members of the U.S. House of Representatives serve two-year terms.
By comparison, Hakeem Jeffries, the head of the House Democratic caucus and also of New York, raised about $845,000 for his re-election bid in the same period. He had $2.2 million in cash at the end of the quarter.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, a Republican of Louisiana who is one of the chamber's most prolific fundraisers, raised $1.4 million in the first quarter of the year.
Ocasio-Cortez raised more than some Democrats currently running for president, including former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and U.S. Representative Tim Ryan.
She has been sparring with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the chamber's response to detention centers on the border housing migrant children. Ocasio-Cortez has argued that Pelosi has not done enough to push back against the Republican president's policies.
On Sunday, Trump injected himself in the middle of the dispute, drawing a barrage of criticism when he wrote on Twitter that Ocasio-Cortez and three other minority woman lawmakers, known in Congress as “the squad,” should go back to “the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
All four of the first-term House members are U.S. citizens, and all but one were born in the United States.
Ocasio-Cortez accused Trump of trying to sow division. "Weak minds and leaders challenge loyalty to our country in order to avoid challenging and debating the policy," she said.
(Reporting by Ginger Gibson; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Leslie Adler)