Campaigns & Elections

Jan. 6 rioter and George Santos ally Tina Forte says she’ll challenge AOC again

The Republican who lost in a landslide to Alexandria-Ocasio-Cortez in 2022 intends to run in 2024.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Tina Forte, the Rep. George Santos associate who raised $1.5 million en route to getting just 27% of the vote against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez last year, announced Monday that she’s planning to take on AOC again in 2024.

“After many discussions with family, friends, and constituents throughout the Bronx and Queens, I have decided to challenge AOC for Congress in 2024,” read a fundraising email from her campaign that does not mention or acknowledge her unsuccessful campaign last year. She links readers to, which redirects to her campaign website. 

Forte’s last campaign paid Santos’ short-lived political consulting firm, Red Strategies USA, a total of $110,320 over the course of six months, from June 2021 to Dec. 2021. Federal Election Commission records show Forte was the only Congressional candidate to ever report working with the firm. 

Santos was reportedly jealous of how much money Ocasio-Cortez’s 2020 challenger John Cummings was bringing in, and worked with Forte to tap into that cash, the Daily Beast wrote, citing an anonymous former Santos campaign worker. 

Forte’s initial campaign treasurer was DeVaughn Dames, a business partner of Santos. And Forte’s campaign may have been part of a Santos scam. A donor who gave to Santos unwillingly had their credit card charged for more donations, Talking Points Memo reported, including two maxed-out $2,900 contributions to Forte’s campaign. 

Santos, a notorious liar, has since pleaded not guilty to a series of federal charges, including allegedly defrauding political donors. 

Forte, who is 53 years old, did not respond to a request for comment, but she seems to be running the same political playbook as last cycle, criticizing Ocasio-Cortez as a “radical socialist.” Forte herself is a far right “MAGA influencer” and was in the crowd that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in a failed attempt to overturn the presidential election. 

Last year on official election documents, Forte said she lived in Nanuet, in Rockland County, far outside of the 14th Congressional District that includes parts of the eastern Bronx and northern Queens. 

While Forte announced her campaign Monday, she has had a committee open for months, and reported raising just over $8,000 through the end of March. Ocasio-Cortez, meanwhile, reported over $5.2 million on hand. 

Since getting elected in 2018, Ocasio-Cortez has drawn opponents from both the Democratic and Republican parties who use the democratic socialist Congress member’s fame to get media attention and raise money. But Ocasio-Cortez is popular in her deeply Democratic district, and is one of the top fundraisers in Congress, and has not faced a competitive race yet.