In the last election, moderate Democrats trembled all over the United States for the primary of a small southern Texan district: District 28. Next year, they may end up finally losing a seat they have held since 2005.
Henry Cuellar is a 65-year-old lawyer from Laredo. He is currently serving his eighth term in the U.S. House of Representatives and has held his position since 2005. His job has been far from perfect, and in the last election, he almost lost the Democratic Primary to a young, fresh and progressive Democrat: Jessica Cisneros.
Jessica Cisneros is a 28-year-old progressive immigrant rights attorney from Laredo. She graduated from Law School at the University of Texas just three years ago. She ran against Cuellar in the 2020 primary, focusing on his status as one of the House’s most moderate Democrats. Cisneros dubbed Cuellar “Trump’s favorite Democrat” and drew national attention, money, and support from some of the most prominent progressive politicians, including Senator Bernie Sanders and U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Some are calling her Texas AOC.
Cisneros almost defeated Cuellar in the last election. A small margin of 4% (less than 2,800 votes) kept her away from the ballot in November’s election and left South Texas without a progressive option. Cuellar appeared to be scared of the young lawyer, as he refused to debate her, even though he is (supposedly) more experienced.
The young, progressive Texan is challenging fiercely Rep. Cuellar. He called him out for blocking the $3.5 T budget blueprint that includes additional money for Childcare, Climate Change, and other major American agendas. He also criticized him harshly for voting against the PRO Act (the only Democrat to do so), which supported labor unions and helped restore fairness in the American economy.
Her campaign is gaining momentum. Supported by the Justice Democrats, she is quickly raising money and breaking national records. Democrats nationwide are not happy with Cuellar either, so maybe this time he will not get the support of Nancy Pelosi and big-name moderates in the Democratic Party. He is working with Trump’s friend and GOP Senator Lindsey Graham in confronting Biden for his border policy.
National Republicans are now eyeing the seat as a way to capitalize on President Joe Biden’s poor showing in South Texas last year. Only 4 percentage points separated Biden and the typically blue 28th District.
Strother, Cuellar’s campaign spokesperson, is trying to sugarcoat the risk she represents for the Democratic establishment and is claiming she “kind of got a free pass” in their last matchup. However, the reality of Laredo is different this year and Texans are starting to question whether they will continue to support Cuellar for a ninth consecutive term or whether they will opt for a modern, progressive choice that can bring real results to South Texas.