Democratic Socialist: Rising political star sells out SF fundraiser

- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was not a name known to many until recently when she beat a 10-term incumbent in the Democratic primary race for New York's 14th congressional district 

On Tuesday she attended two fundraisers in San Francisco.

A KTVU crew was at the sold-out event held at the Gray Area Theater on Mission Street at 23rd Street. 

The San Francisco Progressive Alliance hosted the fundraiser. Organizers say the response was so great, they moved the event from a smaller venue to the theater to accommodate an estimated crowd of 500 who attended the event.

Shortly before 8:30 Tuesday night, Ocasio-Cortez arrived at the theater with San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim by her side. 

An enthusiastic crowd came to hear the progressive congressional candidate from the Bronx, described by some as a rising political star. 

The 28-year-old is a self described Democratic Socialist and political novice.

"There's no way to prepare, not a normal experience literally. A couple of months ago, I was bartending at Union Square." said Ocasio-Cortez. 

A long line formed outside the venue more than an hour before the doors opened.

Supporters hope Ocasio-Cortez can help the Democratic party regain control of Congress in the mid-term elections.

"We want to flip the house blue in November. She's going to help us do that," said Fern Ebeling, a registered Democrat. 

In her campaign video, Ocasio-Cortez describes herself as a working class New Yorker with a progressive stance on housing, health care and education. 

Her supporters here in the Bay Area say her message resonates with them.

"We all want free healthcare, free education for all," said Andrea Pereira-Schork, a registered Democrat. 

"What we see is just that exactly how excited and ready this nation is for change," said Ocasio-Cortez. 

An event organizer, who was the chair of the San Francisco Berniecrats, says she felt unwelcome at the Democratic National Convention.

She says now that Ocasio-Cortez, a Sanders delegate, has beaten an establishment incumbent, the left has a voice in the Democratic party.

"It gives us hope that we can push the Democratic party to the left," said Claire Lau, interim co-chair of the San Francisco Progressive Alliance. 

"We have got to be clear about what we're about. We need to reclaim this party," said Ocasio-Cortez. 

As she was leaving, a KTVU crew asked her what she thought of the event, she replied,"It
was awesome, Love it. Thank you so much." 

Ocasio-Cortez is headed back to New York. She is running against Republican Anthony Pappas in November. If she wins, she will become the youngest woman ever to be elected to congress, .at age 28. 
 
 

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