Does Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez represent more people than Joe Manchin?

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attends a session inside the venue of the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: “I represent more, or just as many or more, people than Joe Manchin does.”

PolitiFact’s ruling: False

Here’s why: After Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he could not support President Joe Biden’s safety net bill, the Build Back Better Act, a leading House progressive, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and took aim at the senator.

“The idea that Joe Manchin says that he can’t explain this back home to his people is a farce,” Ocasio-Cortez said on Dec. 20. “I mean, it’s a farce in terms of plain democracy, because I represent more or just as many or more people than Joe Manchin does — perhaps more,” she said.

On the numerical comparison, Ocasio-Cortez is wrong. (Her office did not respond to an inquiry for this article.)

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Ocasio-Cortez represents the 14th congressional district of New York, which includes parts of two boroughs in New York City. The district’s population was 696,664 in the most recent Census estimate available, from 2019.

By contrast, Manchin, who as a senator represents the whole state of West Virginia, has 1,793,716 constituents, according to the 2020 Census.

That means that Manchin represents roughly 2.6 times as many people as Ocasio-Cortez does.

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Senators run in statewide elections and count the entire state’s population as their constituency. But for those who would argue that each of a state’s two senators should count for only half the population, Ocasio-Cortez’ statement still falls short. Half of West Virginia’s population is close to 900,000, which is nearly 30% more than Ocasio-Cortez’s district has.

We rate the statement False.

Sources

  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Dec. 20, 2021

  • U.S. Census Bureau, “2020 Population and Housing State Data,” Aug. 12, 2021

  • U.S. Census Bureau, “My Congressional District” database, accessed Dec. 22, 2021

This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Face Check: Does AOC represent more people than Joe Manchin?