Congressional candidate Kaniela Ing gains support from rising Democratic star
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A New Yorker spearheading a growing political movement brought her star-power to Hawaii on Thursday.
Bronx native Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 28, is famous for defeating a 10-term incumbent in the U.S. House in their primary election in June. Time magazine called it "the biggest upset of the 2018 elections so far."
Ocasio-Cortez is backing Hawaii's Kaniela Ing, 29, who is ranked fourth in his six-way race for Congress.
Ocasio-Cortez traveled nearly 5,000 miles for Ing's rally, which was held at the Hawaii School for the Deaf and the Blind just two days before Hawaii's primary election.
"Two weeks before my race, I was polling 35 points down," Ocasio-Cortez said. "And we changed that in two weeks because we were talking to people who hadn't been excited about the political process before."
Ing hopes Ocasio-Cortez's support is exactly what he needs for a comeback victory.
"This is what grassroots campaigns are all about. The momentum builds at the very end. You get people who have never voted before and that's really the only way we're gonna win and give our generation a shot and working people of all ages," Ing said.
At the rally, Ocasio-Cortez energized a room full of Ing supporters with her message of universal health care, housing and education.
It's the same message Ing is promoting as he seeks election to the U.S. House to represent the 1st Congressional District of Hawaii.
"I see a lot of my life experience in Kaniela's life experience. We both come from working class families, we both lost our dads at a young age, and worked to keep our families afloat," Ocasio-Cortez said. "And I think taking that spirit and taking that experience into a national legislature is extremely powerful."
A recent poll on the Congressional race put him in fourth place, with six-percent of voter support.
Without endorsing him, the head of Hawaii's democratic party applauds Ing's strategy.
"I think it's a great move," said Kealii Lopez. "I think the degree to which he can demonstrate that he has support from someone else who ran a pretty difficult race in New York, I think it's a great strategy for him."
Ocasio-Cortez has the support of Senator Bernie Sanders, who is a democratic socialist. Ing is also a democratic socialist. Their group, largely targeting young people, has exploded in popularity since Donald Trump became President.
Although the socialist ideals are now popular with millennials, Lopez does not believe they are taking over the democratic party.
"As far as that being a representation of the party as a whole, no," Lopez said. "I think it's a segment of the party. It's very diverse. Probably a new insurgence for sure for the party," Lopez said.
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