News & Politics

AOC endorses former campaign staffer Jonathan Soto

Soto is the first local candidate that the congresswoman has endorsed this cycle.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Assembly candidate Jonathan Soto, a former staffer on her campaign.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Assembly candidate Jonathan Soto, a former staffer on her campaign. Celal Gunes/Anadolu via Getty Images

On Wednesday evening, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez threw her support behind Jonathan Soto, a former campaign staffer who is now running for an Assembly seat in the northern Bronx. “We're proud to endorse Jonathan Soto for Assembly District 82!” Ocasio-Cortez’s office wrote in a post on X. “Jonathan is running to put The Bronx first. He's a lobbyist-free, grassroots champ who belongs in Albany to fight for people, not special interests.” It is the first local endorsement that she has made this election cycle.

“I am humbled to have the endorsement of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” Soto told City & State in a statement. “From securing millions of dollars for a youth center in Co-Op City to her courageous advocacy for a ceasefire in Gaza, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez has valiantly led the progressive movement in Washington, D.C. and New York while continuing to deliver for working families in the Bronx.”

 “I am grateful for what we accomplished together when I was a member of her campaign staff, and for the confidence she placed in me to lead our Homework Helpers program, which gave free one-on-one tutoring to thousands of Bronx children during the COVID-19 pandemic. I look forward to continuing to work alongside Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez to build the future the Bronx deserves,” he added.

Soto is challenging Assembly Member Michael Benedetto, the chair of the Assembly Education Committee, in the Democratic primary for the 82nd Assembly District, which overlaps with Ocasio-Cortez’s congressional district.

The endorsement from Ocasio-Cortez, one of the most famous progressive politicians in the country, could help raise Soto’s profile, particularly in the vote-rich neighborhood of Co-Op City. Soto previously tried and failed to unseat Benedetto in 2022. (Ocasio-Cortez also endorsed him that year.) He remains the underdog in the race; Benedetto has high name recognition, the support of the Democratic establishment and endorsements from a number of labor unions. But Soto, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, has consolidated support on the left, winning endorsements from both the state Working Families Party and DSA.