New York Post: Bronx civics teacher inspired by AOC to run – for her seat
Meet Bronx resident John Cummings, a Republican and former Harbor Unit cop-turned-high school civics teacher who is mounting a long-shot bid to topple Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez next year.
“But to just come from the outside and take somebody on is really difficult,” Cummings told The Post in an exclusive interview.
The one-time bartender Ocasio-Cortez inspired him to run — for her 14th congressional district seat.
“It was pointed out to me by my students that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pretty much made my excuse– and I’ll use their quotes– ‘a lame one,’” he said.
So the 59-year-old Saint Raymond High School instructor plans to file paperwork with the Federal Election Commission Friday to declare his long-odds candidacy as a Republican in a district that Hillary Clinton won by nearly 58 points over Donald Trump in 2016.
The Bronx GOP said Cummings will be an attractive candidate and clear alternative to Democratic socialist Ocasio-Cortez.
“Unlike AOC, John Cummings was born and raised in the district,” said Bronx County Republican Chairman Mike Rendino.
“He will be able to connect with the real New Yorkers in the Bronx and Queens who AOC takes for granted,” Rendino said.
The freshman rep — who sent shockwaves through the political establishment last year with her upset victory against long-term Congressman Joe Crowley — didn’t open a district office in Queens until two months after taking office.
Cummings has the support of consultant Chapin Fay, who served as public affairs director for former Gov. George Pataki.
“She’ll have unlimited funds,” Fey acknowledged, referring to Ocasio-Cortez’s grassroots fundraising juggernaut.
The lefty firebrand pulled in $726,000 during the first quarter of 2019.
“But we’ll have the resources to compete,” Fey predicted.
Cummings followed in his cop father’s footsteps, joining the NYPD in 1983. He worked in the South Bronx then moved to the NYPD’s Harbor Unit, where he suffered a knee injury and retired in 1991.
He went back to school, financing his education with private security work.
Cummings then joined the faculty at his alma mater, Saint Raymond High School for Boys, just blocks from where he grew up on Metropolitan Avenue in the Parkchester section of the Bronx.
Cummings now teaches at a school in the Bronx after his career with the NYPD was cut short. Dennis A. Clark
“I’m a service-oriented guy,” said Cummings, who moonlights as a women’s basketball broadcaster at Fairfield College and a singer in a local classic rock band.
“I’m a constituent in District 14. I think that can transcend party. I’m not in this for any other reason than to make sure we have adequate representation in the district,” Cummings said.
Cummings calls himself a “small-government guy” who will campaign on freedom of choice in education, a free-market economy and infrastructure improvements.
“I’m not personally invested in this to go after [Ocasio-Cortez],” he said adding, “That’s not my thing. I just think that people need common-sense representation.”
Ocascio-Cortez expressed concern about her re-election in a recent New Yorker interview, telling the magazine’s David Remnick, “We have a census and gerrymandering coming up and when you are critical of people in your own party, it’s entirely possible that, in ’22, I could get a spaghetti noodle of a district.”
Cummings is the second Republican in the district, following medical writer Ruth Papazian, to file with the FEC.
A multimillion-dollar mystery donor has pledged to support a challenge from the right.
Read the full article at the New York Post.