Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slams The Lincoln Project as being in 'scam territory' after it raised $67 million to try to persuade never-Trump Republicans to vote for Biden

  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blasted The Lincoln Project on Friday, arguing the group wasn't effective at persuading disaffected Republicans to vote for Biden and diverted money from organizers that played a larger role in his victory.
  • Ocasio-Cortez said the group, which is run by former GOP operatives and raised $67 million, was in "scam territory" and that "we just haven't seen any" data to justify the group's fundraising and strategy.
  • Ocasio-Cortez, who coasted to reelection, and other progressives have sparred with centrists over messaging and policy after the party suffered unexpected losses in House races.
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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had harsh words for The Lincoln Project on Friday, accusing the group of being in "scam territory" over its promise to persuade "never-Trump" Republicans to vote for President-elect Joe Biden.

In a Twitter thread, Ocasio-Cortez argued that The Lincoln Project, which raised $67.4 million according to Federal Election Commission data, diverted resources from organizers and groups who were more effective in driving votes in for Biden.

"It's not too late for them to do the right thing. Lincoln Project should take the L and publicly pledge to give a lot of their fundraising to the people who actually made a big difference," Ocasio-Cortez said.

Ocasio-Cortez and The Lincoln Project did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

The Lincoln Project, which was started in late 2019 by high-profile former GOP operatives including Rick Wilson and Kellyanne Conway's husband George Conway, gained a reputation — and some notoriety — this year for its memes and ads bashing President Donald Trump, including billboards in New York City mocking Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.

The group's significant war chest went toward ads in a variety of states, including deep-blue ones like New York as well as battleground states like Pennsylvania and more conservative ones like South Carolina.

But following an unexpectedly strong showing from Republicans in House of Representatives races, Ocasio-Cortez — who coasted to reelection along with fellow progressive Democrats Rep. Ilhan Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib — has clashed with centrist Democrats over the future direction of the party.

During a contentious call Thursday, first reported by The Washington Post, Ocasio-Cortez defended Democrats' ability to win swing seats while running on progressive policies and blamed this year's electoral failures in part on lackluster digital campaigns, a theme she echoed in her critique of The Lincoln Project on Friday.

Read more: Mass firings, frozen funding, and midnight rules: Inside the Democrats' operation to fight back against lame-duck Trump going scorched-earth in a Biden transition

"The kind of videos they made are pretty well shown to not be persuasive for a Never Trump message. Explicitly insulting anti-Trump content isn't what gets people to move," she said, adding that those who disagreed needed to back up their claims with independent data, and that so far, "we just haven't seen any."

Several co-founders of The Lincoln Project defended the group's work.

"AOC is mad at us. QANON Republicans are really mad at us. @realDonaldTrump is really, really mad at us. Must be doing something right," former New Hampshire GOP chairwoman Jennifer Horn tweeted Friday, suggesting that centrist voters — and The Lincoln Party's efforts to appeal to them — were a significant force in Biden's victory.

And in a tweet asking if Steve Schmidt of The Lincoln Project would support the two Democrats running for Senate in Georgia, who are both headed to January runoff elections, Schmidt replied, "yes."

Early national exit polls from CNN, which are only preliminary looks at who voted for each presidential candidate or party, show that Biden gained ground with older voters, white voters, men, and some parts of Trump's base, but underperformed with voters of color.

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