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An early voice in the ‘Abolish ICE’ movement, Florida congressional candidate Chardo Richardson sees profile bump

He's challenging Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park.
In a YouTube video from September 2017, Congressional candidates Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Chardo Richardson discuss DACA.
In a YouTube video from September 2017, Congressional candidates Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Chardo Richardson discuss DACA.
Published Jul. 2, 2018

You may not haven't heard of Chardo Richardson, short of living in Orlando, an underdog Democratic primary challenger to Rep. Stephanie Murphy.

But the abolish ICE movement — and the Democratic primary upset in New York last week — is giving Richardson a bigger profile.

Richardson just got credit from the New York Times for helping start the movement to abolish ICE, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, and he's gotten an endorsement from the new progressive hero Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

"People are finally ready for change. They're ready to stop corporations from controlling legislation," Richardson told the Orlando Sentinel after her victory. "If anybody had the ability to win, it was her. And I'm feeling the same here."

The two are members of Brand New Congress, a liberal group that is taking aim at centrists such as Murphy. Ocasio-Cortez appeared alongside Richardson at University of Central Florida last year, where they discussed DACA.

Richardson wrote an immigration campaign platform for Brand New Congress that includes a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented Americans and abolishing ICE.

"Unnecessarily founded in 2003 on anti-immigrant sentiments, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the federal government's deportation machine," the platform reads. "A brutal agency meant to strike fear into the hearts of undocumented Americans, ICE destroys the lives of millions of hardworking undocumented Americans and tears apart countless families. While keeping our country safe is important, ICE does little more than increase dangerous militarization and target vulnerable undocumented Americans who are simply looking to make a living for themselves and their families. While ICE has some programs that are potentially admirable in theory, such as investigations into human rights violations, these programs are underfunded, understaffed, and abused. Ironically, ICE frequently violates the rights of undocumented Americans, torturing them and even using them as slave labor. Yet we have seen no repercussions from Congress, with the establishment on both sides of the aisle tossing billions at the agency with no interest in holding it accountable."

Richardson still has challenges, as the Sentinel lays out:

There are some major differences between his race against Murphy and Ocasio-Cortez's race.

While pledging not to take any corporate money and getting outraised by Crowley by more than 10 to 1, Ocasio-Cortez still raised more than $300,000. Richardson has raised only about $25,000 so far to Murphy's $1.8 million.

District 7 is also evenly split between Republicans and Democrats and will be extremely competitive in a general election, while Ocasio-Cortez's district had a huge Democratic advantage in registration and the primary essentially determined the general election.


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