New York progressive Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez comfortably secured a second term in Congress on Tuesday with an expected win over her Republican challenger who was outspent despite raising US$10 million.
John Cummings, 60, hoped fundraising from conservative donors nationwide could propel him past one of the left's most popular stars, but the former police officer and high school teacher was no match for the charismatic 31-year-old representative of parts of the Bronx and Queens.
Democratic socialist Ocasio-Cortez raised more than US$17 million for her second congressional campaign, making it the second most expensive House race in the country even though her primary win all but guaranteed her House seat was safe.
With 65 percent reporting, the congresswoman known commonly as "AOC" led Cummings by 38 percentage points, according to The New York Times. In 2018 she won the seat by nearly 80 percent.
Ocasio-Cortez is part of a quartet of like-minded congresswoman known as "The Squad" who are admired on the Left for challenging the Washington status quo and her three allies appeared set to duplicate her achievement.
US media called races for Minnesota's Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, with Michigan's Rashida Tlaib also beating her Republican opponent by a wide margin.
"Our sisterhood is resilient," Omar tweeted alongside pictures of all four women as she celebrated her victory.
Ocasio-Cortez in particular has been the target of near-constant Republican ire – while also endorsing leftists who take on members of the Democratic party's old guard.
The former organiser for Bernie Sanders, the long time Democratic socialist senator from Vermont, rose to prominence thanks to her informal social media personality and willingness to shake things up on Capitol Hill.
She's been floated as a potential future challenger to New York's Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, or a primary opponent against New York's centrist Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2022.
Many of her supporters have also urged Ocasio-Cortez to consider a presidential run. Her first year of eligibility for the White House – the minimum age is 35 – would be in 2024.
But she's been cautious to make promises concerning her political future.
"I don't want to aspire to a quote-unquote higher position just for the sake of that title or just for the sake of having a different or higher position," she told Vanity Fair for a recent cover story. "I truly make an assessment to see if I can be more effective."