Four moderate New Jersey Democratic House members could wind up on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s target list.
Ocasio-Cortez has said she would help liberal activists oust moderate Democrats in the 2020 Democratic congressional primaries.
Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff), Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair), Andy Kim (D-Marlton) and Jeff Van Drew (D-Middle) were among the 26 Democrats who joined with House Republicans in support of an amendment requiring U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) be notified if an illegal immigrant seeks to buy a gun.
The Washington Post reported that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “lashed out” at the moderates, including the four New Jerseyans.
“We are either a team or we’re not, and we have to make that decision,” the Post reported Pelosi as saying.
A spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez told the Post that Democrats who side with the GOP “are putting themselves on a list.
Seven New Jersey Democrats, including freshman Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill), voted against the amendment. Hours after the vote, Republican State Chairman Doug Steinhardt issued a statement slamming Malinowski.
Van Drew, a right-of-center Democrat, won his primary last year with 56% after three progressive challengers split the remainder of the vote. Sherrill won her primary by a 77%-15% margin in a five-candidate field.
The controversy follows a Republican amendment on a gun control measure that is one of the cornerstones of the House Democratic agenda during their first 100 days in the majority. The bill mandated background checks for most gun purchases.
Republicans amended the bill to include the ICE requirement. Twenty-six Democratic House members voted for the amendment, including the four New Jerseyans.