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Ocasio-Cortez gets new 2020 challenger: a Republican immigrant from Jamaica

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Ocasio-Cortez gets new 2020 challenger: a Republican immigrant from Jamaica

EXCLUSIVE — Scherie Murray, a New York businesswoman who immigrated from Jamaica as a child and is active in state Republican politics, is launching a campaign Wednesday for the congressional seat held by Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Fox News has learned.

In a phone interview, Murray, 38, confirmed her intention to run for the New York congressional seat as a Republican.

TRUMP FIRES BACK AT SQUAD, CHALLENGES HOUSE TO ‘REBUKE’ THEM FOR ‘FILTHY AND HATE LACED’ LANGUAGE

“There is a crisis in Queens, and it’s called AOC,” Murray told Fox News. “And 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.”

Murray, who was born in Jamaica and moved to the United States when she was 9, is officially launching her campaign Wednesday with an introductory video that takes sharp jabs at the 29-year-old Ocasio-Cortez.

‘There is a crisis in Queens, and it’s called AOC.’

— Scherie Murray

“Your representative in Washington chooses self-promotion over service, conflict over constituents, resistance over assistance,” Murray said in the video. “Queens and the Bronx needs someone who will create jobs instead of turning them away.”

Asked about Ocasio-Cortez’s brand of Democratic socialism, Murray said, “I think it’s far, far to the left and it is not connecting with everyday Americans.”

As for “Medicare-for-all,” which Ocasio-Cortez has embraced, the Republican said: “Medicare-for-all, I think a lot of people are happy with their current health insurance.” And on the Green New Deal, the left-wing proposal to address climate change pushed by Ocasio-Ortez, she said: “We know that it certainly will kill jobs.”

Murray joins four other Republicans who have filed to run for the seat: former police officer John Cummings, medical journalist Ruth Papazian, construction contractor Miguel Hernandez and entrepreneur Antoine Tucker.

No Democrats have yet announced a primary challenge to Ocasio-Cortez, though there’s been speculation that establishment Democrats could rally behind a primary challenger. Ocasio-Cortez shocked the political world in 2018 by defeating longtime Rep. Joe Crowley in a Democratic primary.

Whichever Republican candidate emerges from the primary field will face a steep uphill climb in the overwhelmingly Democratic district. But Murray and others are looking to paint Ocasio-Cortez as more of a celebrity than a lawmaker, while stressing their ability to work across party lines.

Murray’s new campaign video, which doesn’t mention President Trump or the Republican Party, portrays Murray as a bridge-builder. She is a former state committeewoman of the New York State Republican Party.

Asked during the interview if she considers herself a Trump supporter, she said “yes.” She said she is in the process of talking with national Republicans about her campaign, including South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, a prominent black Republican in Congress.

She expressed disgust over the recent spat between Trump and Ocasio-Cortez and her allies. Trump has taken heat for telling Ocasio-Cortez and other minority progressives to “go back” to where they came from – provoking accusations from Democrats that Trump’s comments are racist.

“I think it’s disgusting, to be quite honest,” Murray said of the controversy, without specifying which part of it disgusts her. “I think we are missing the point of why we’re elected to public office: to legislate on policy, to deliver results to those kitchen table issues that are affecting everyday Americans.”

Murray later clarified her thoughts on the back-and-forth, saying of Trump’s tweet, “Is that how I would have worded it? No. Do I think the president is a racist? No.” She added, “But I want to get back to the core of why we’re even talking about this – there is a crisis at our border.”

Murray, who grew up in Southeast Queens and worked for the city’s Jamaica Bus Depot as a teenager, founded a television production and advertising company called The Esemel Group in 2004. She said her business generated employment for minorities in New York City. She said she no longer works for the company and is now a full-time mother.

The GOP primary will take place in June 2020.

Winning a general election in New York’s 14th congressional district would be a long shot for any Republican: In 2018, Ocasio-Cortez’s GOP opponent, Anthony Pappas, won just 14 percent of the vote.

But Murray still insists a Republican could win – even in a Democratic-controlled district – because of dissatisfaction with Ocasio-Cortez.

“A Republican can win the district,” she said. “There is an absolute path to victory when you look at a general election campaign.”

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Trump rips New York Times over Kavanaugh piece, calls for resignation of anyone involved in ‘SMEAR story’

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Trump rips New York Times over Kavanaugh piece, calls for resignation of anyone involved in 'SMEAR story'

President Trump blasted The New York Times over its supposed bombshell report on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, calling on “everybody” involved in the “smear” to resign.

“I call for the Resignation of everybody at The New York Times involved in the Kavanaugh SMEAR story, and while you’re at it, the Russian Witch Hunt Hoax, which is just as phony!” Trump tweeted Monday evening.

“They’ve taken the Old Grey Lady and broken her down, destroyed her virtue and ruined her reputation… She can never recover, and will never return to Greatness, under current Management. The Times is DEAD, long live The New York Times!”

NEW YORK TIMES CRITICIZED FROM BOTH SIDES OVER NOW-REVISED KAVANAUGH ALLEGATIONS

Late Sunday, The New York Times walked back an explosive report about a resurfaced allegation of sexual assault by Kavanaugh from his college days. The piece by Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, adapted from their forthcoming book, alleged there was corroboration of an incident in which Kavanaugh, as a college student at Yale, exposed himself to a female classmate at a party.

However, The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway — who reviewed an advance copy of the book – flagged an omission and the paper eventually revised the controversial story after being lampooned on social media over the gaffe.

The update included the significant detail that several friends of the alleged victim said she did not recall the purported sexual assault. The newspaper also stated for the first time that the alleged victim refused to be interviewed, and has made no other comment about the episode.

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Trump was asked about whether anyone from The Times should be “fired” over the controversy. He called it a “fair” question but didn’t directly give an answer.

“I think The New York Times made another terrible mistake,” Trump said. “It’s a shame that a thing like that could happen… They used to have a thing called fact-checking. They don’t have fact-checking anymore.”

Fox News’ Brian Flood and Gregg Re contributed to this report.

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With New Mexico rally, Trump seeks to flip state won by Clinton in 2016

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With New Mexico rally, Trump seeks to flip state won by Clinton in 2016

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump will hold one of his signature rallies on Monday night in New Mexico, a longtime Democratic stronghold his campaign has added to the list of states it hopes to win in the November 2020 election.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, U.S., September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

The last time New Mexico supported a Republican in a presidential race was 2004. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton beat Trump there by 8 percentage points three years ago.

Trump’s campaign sees an opening in the state with Latinos, who it believes will swing his way despite tough immigration policies, including a crackdown on migrants from Central America and a push to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

Democrats have criticized those efforts. But a Trump campaign aide said the Republican president could win over Latinos who came to the United States legally and believe others should, too.

“Big crowd expected in New Mexico tonight, where we will WIN. Your Border Wall is getting stronger each and every day — see you in a few hours!” Trump tweeted ahead of his trip.

The campaign also views Trump’s support for the fossil fuel industry as a plus in the state, which is rich in oil and natural gas, said the campaign aide, who declined to be named. Trump is likely to discuss energy on Monday night.

Trump won the White House in 2016 with electoral votes from traditional Republican-leaning states and some surprise Democratic-leaning ones.

The Trump campaign says it wants New Mexico’s five electoral votes to augment the 306 electoral votes the president received in his first election, not create a separate path for victory. A candidate must get 270 electoral votes nationally to win.

Democrats, who did well in New Mexico during the 2018 mid-term elections, are skeptical.

“Last cycle, Democrats crushed Republicans in New Mexico because voters are fed up with President Trump’s toxic healthcare agenda and broken promises,” said David Bergstein, a communications director for the Democratic National Committee focused on battleground states.

“We take nothing for granted, but this GOP strategy looks like they’re concerned about a realistic pathway to 270 electoral votes,” he added.

Trump won electoral-vote-rich swing states such as Ohio and Florida in 2016, while also picking up Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania from Democrats.

The campaign says it is eyeing more pickups in 2020, including Colorado, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Nevada.

Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Tom Brown

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California adds Iowa to ‘travel ban’ over refusal to fund gender transitions

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California adds Iowa to 'travel ban' over refusal to fund gender transitions

California announced Monday that it has added Iowa to the list of states on its ever-expanding “travel ban” list because of that state’s new prohibition against funding gender-transition surgeries under Medicaid.

The announcement by state Attorney General Xavier Becerra means that as of Oct. 4, California will no longer offer taxpayer-funded trips to Iowa for any public employee or student at a state-run university.

Becerra’s authority came from a 2016 California law signed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown that bars state-funded travel to other states that undercut LGBT rights. The list already included Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma and Mississippi.

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Conservatives have called the law ineffective, inconveniencing, possibly unconstitutional and hypocritical. The state’s sports teams have turned to private funding to get around the restrictions, according to The Los Angeles Times.

A homeless woman smokes as she waits for city crews to clean the area near Los Angeles City Hall Monday, July 1, 2019. California is overrun with homeless individuals. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

A homeless woman smokes as she waits for city crews to clean the area near Los Angeles City Hall Monday, July 1, 2019. California is overrun with homeless individuals. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

“The Iowa Legislature has reversed course on what was settled law under the Iowa Civil Rights Act, repealing protections for those seeking gender-affirming health care,” Becerra said in a statement. “California has taken an unambiguous stand against discrimination and government actions that would enable it.”

The brouhaha began after the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in March that taxpayers could be forced to pay for gender reassignment surgery. Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a law effectively overriding that ruling two months later.

At the federal level, the Trump administration has disputed the idea that sex-based discrimination prohibitions under law include protections for gender identity. The Health and Human Services Department, in May, angered progressive advocates with rules that both allowed doctors not to perform certain operations and stated that “gender identity” was not protected under sex discrimination law in health care.

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Fox News’ Sam Dorman contributed to this report.

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