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U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a nine-term incumbent and the last anti-abortion House Democrat, avoided defeat in Tuesday’s Democratic primary in Texas – but will head to a runoff against progressive immigration attorney Jessica Cisneros, according to The Associated Press.
The primary was a rematch for the candidates after Cisneros nearly pulled off an upset of Cuellar in 2020 in the state’s 28th Congressional District in South Texas, losing by only 4 percentage points
Cisneros, 28, represents the Democratic Party’s progressive wing, which is trying to oust moderate incumbents.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., left, and Jessica Cisneros, a Democratic U.S. House candidate in Texas, speak to reporters in San Antonio, Texas, Feb. 22, 2022.
Cisneros’ campaign was endorsed by progressives Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
Ocasio-Cortez campaigned for Cisneros last month in San Antonio, telling the crowd that Texas turning blue is “inevitable,” and that “if we flip Texas, we flip the country.”
Ocasio-Cortez slammed Cuellar as an “anti-choice Dem” in a Feb. 9 tweet after the congressman diminished her as a “far-left celebrity.”
Tuesday’s election comes after the FBI raided Cuellar’s Laredo home and campaign office in January, as part of a federal probe relating to the South Caucasus country of Azerbaijan. Cuellar has denied wrongdoing and hasn’t been charged with a crime.
Cuellar has been an outspoken critic of the Biden administration on U.S.-Mexico border issues. Last November, for example, he called for President Biden to replace Vice President Kamala Harris as his “border czar,” claiming Harris hadn’t “put the effort in there.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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