FACT CHECK: Viral Image Claims Professor Anthony Pappas Is Ocasio-Cortez’s Only 2020 Challenger

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook more than 10,000 times claims that New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez only has St. John’s University professor Anthony Pappas challenging her for her congressional seat.

“Please meme me into office,” reads part of the caption.

Verdict: False

Federal Election Commission (FEC) records show that 12 people have filed for candidacy in Ocasio-Cortez’s district, including four Democratic challengers. Pappas said he has no intention of running “at the moment.”

Fact Check:

Ocasio-Cortez defeated 10-term incumbent Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary to represent New York’s 14th congressional district. In the general election, she won 78.2 percent of the votes, according to The New York Times.

A viral image falsely alleges in a post that Ocasio-Cortez has only one challenger in upcoming 2020 congressional elections – Pappas, an associate professor at St. John’s University that ran for the Republican Party in 2018. The post has been shared more than 10,000 times.

“Hi I’m Anthony Pappas, I’m the only person challenging Alexandra Ocasio Cortez (sic) for congress,” reads the post. “She just bailed out on a debate against me because I’m an economics professor and I would’ve destroyed her socialist position. Please meme me into office.”

The FEC website shows 12 individuals have filed for candidacy in New York’s 14th congressional district, which encompasses parts of Bronx County and Queens County. Four candidates, including New York City Councilman Fernando Cabrera and activist Badrun Khan, will face off against Ocasio-Cortez in the Democratic Primary. Jamaican-American businesswoman Sherie Murray and seven other candidates will vie for the Republican nomination, according to the FEC.

Pappas has not filed a statement of candidacy with the FEC for the 2019-2020 time period. Nor has his 2018 campaign’s Facebook page announced his intention to run for office this election cycle.

“There are many other people who want the GOP nomination for 2020,” Pappas told a commenter on the page. “So, at the moment I am not running.” (RELATED: Did Ocasio-Cortez And Omar Vote To Take Benefits Away From Seniors?)

Ocasio-Cortez has raised approximately $3.4 million dollars so far, with the next closest candidate, former teacher and retired NYPD cop John Cummings raising roughly $425,000, according to FEC records. To date, her Democratic challengers have all reported zero receipts to the FEC.

The claim has been circulating online since at least 2018, yet its claim wasn’t accurate then either. Crowley and Elizabeth Perri of the Conservative Party also appeared on the ballot, according to the Washington Post.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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