Things That Matter

Rep. Henry Cuellar Defeats Progressive Challenger Jessica Cisneros In Texas

Jessica Cisneros conceded the race for Texas’s 28th Congressional District to incumbent Rep. Henry Cuellar. The young progressive was once an intern for Rep. Cuellar in Washington and wanted to unseat him to bring progressive ideas to Congress.

Update: Progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros conceded her congressional race to her primary opponent Rep. Henry Cuellar.

Despite the defeat, Cisneros is claiming a victorious because of the power the grassroots campaign had in southern Texas. In her concession speech, Cisneros praised her supporters and staff for making a difference in Texas politics through her campaign.

“I think one thing is clear, that our movement was victorious tonight,” Cisneros told supporters. “That’s because this fight has always been about an opportunity to prove how one of us, a brown girl from our community, with her whole community behind her, could take on an entire machine.”

Rep. Cuellar secured 51.8 percent of the vote which translates to 38,720 votes. Cisneros received 35,964 votes.

Jessica Cisneros is running for Congress to unseat Rep. Henry Cuellar.

Credit: jcisnerostx_ / Instagram

The 26-year-old immigration and human rights attorney is fighting to unseat a politician she once worked for. Cisneros worked for Rep. Cuellar in Washington as an intern answering calls and dealing with constituents’ requests. Now, the young Latina from Laredo, Texas is going to be on the ballot Tuesday trying to unseat him.

“It took me having to go to Washington to figure out how conservative he was,” Cisneros told BuzzFeed News. “I think about that experience a lot, because I get it when we go up to people’s doors and all of a sudden we, you know, hit them with the facts and what the congressman’s been up to, [and] many, many people don’t know.”

Cisneros is one of the many new faces recruited and promoted by Justice Democrats.

Justice Democrats is an organization that is working to elect more people to Congress to fight for working-class issues. According to the website, Justice Democrats is committed to recruiting, training, and election candidate who will fight for issues like “skyrocketing inequality, catastrophic climate change, deepening structural racism as the country becomes more diverse, and the corporate takeover of our democracy.”

Justice Democrats is the same organization the helped get Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez elected in 2018.

Credit: justicedemocrats / Instagram

Cisneros represents the generational change in ideology that can be seen across the political spectrum in the Latino community. Cisneros is in favor of Medicare For All and the Green New Deal, two things that are popular with younger voters.

Rep. Henry Cuellar’s campaign is being dismissive of Cisneros as a viable candidate to unseat the incumbent.

Credit: repcuellar / Instagram

According to the Buzzfeed News article, Rep. Cuellar’s team canceled a scheduled phone interview after insisting that they will not answer any questions that were in response to Cisneros.

“We’re not allowing a 26-year-old young lady who’s never done anything question the character of a dedicated public servant,” Colin Strother, a spokesperson for the campaign, told BuzzFeed News.

Rep. Cuellar is considered “Trump’s favorite Democrat” because of his voting record during Trump’s first two years in office.

Credit: repcuellar / Instagram

According to FiveThirtyEight, Rep. Cuellar voted with President Trump 75 percent of the time. FiveThirtyEight is known for their polling science and, according to them, Rep. Cuellar should only be voting with President Trump 10 percent of the time based on the needs and demands of his constituents. Despite this information, Rep. Cuellar tried to argue that it isn’t that simple.

“If you look at my record here since I started here back in 2005, I’ve always been a centrist. If you want to use voting with the Democratic Party as a measure, you and I are going to be off completely because I was not sent to Washington to vote with the Democratic Party. I am a Democrat, but I don’t see my job as to vote with the Democratic Party. And I think any Democrat or Republican that votes their party, then I think they’re doing a disservice to their constituents,” Rep. Cuellar told FiveThirtyEight in a 2017 interview. “My district is about +7 Democratic, but it’s still a diverse district in many ways. I do better than most Democrats here even though I’m a moderate conservative Blue Dog and I still do very well here. My hometown of Laredo, the border area, I’ll get 90, 95, 98 percent of the vote, so I must be doing something right here.”

The real test will happen during Super Tuesday to see if Texas’s 28th Congressional District will continue with Rep. Cuellar or usher in a new progressive voice in Cisneros.

Credit: jcisnerostx_ / Instagram

Make sure you vote to make your voice heard this election.

READ: Jessica Cisneros Is 26 Years Old And Has Some Big Plans To Rep Her District If Elected To Congress

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