Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) supports various laws designed to thwart a woman’s right to choose, helps raise money for Republicans, has received exorbitant levels of cash from the fossil fuel industry, and votes with President Donald Trump nearly 70 percent of the time—a right-wing record that earned him the dubious honor of becoming the first 2020 primary target of a grassroots group working to replace corporate Democrats with bold progressives.
“District 28 and South Texas is in a special position to lead the nation on immigration, renewable-energy, and healthcare, yet Henry Cuellar has failed to do this by instead voting with Donald Trump nearly 70 percent of the time.”
Justice Democrats—which helped Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) topple powerful Wall Street Democrat Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) last year—launched the Primary Cuellar Fund on Friday with the goal of recruiting a primary candidate who is committed to progressive solutions that are more in line with the interests of voters in Texas’ left-leaning 28th congressional district.
“In the last election cycle, Justice Democrats revealed enormous energy in the Democratic Party primary electorate for change when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and [Rep.] Ayanna Pressley [D-Mass.] upset long-time incumbent Democrats who had grown out-of-touch with their deep blue districts,” Alexandra Rojas, executive director of Justice Democrats, said in a statement. “We’re now leading a grassroots candidate recruitment effort to find a real Democrat to run against Cuellar.”
“District 28 and South Texas is in a special position to lead the nation on immigration, renewable energy, and healthcare, yet Henry Cuellar has failed to do this by instead voting with Donald Trump nearly 70 percent of the time,” added Danny Diaz, a community organizer who lives in the 28th district.
Justice Democrats’ new campaign against Cueller comes as several House Democrats and congressional aides—speaking to Politico both anonymously and on the record—expressed concern and outrage that Ocasio-Cortez has in the past voiced support for primary campaigns against right-wing Democrats.
While Ocasio-Cortez’s spokesman told the Washington Post that the freshman congresswoman is not involved in the effort to primary Cuellar, Politico reported that some House Democrats are “annoyed” by her “threat to back primary opponents against members of their ranks she deems too moderate.”
“Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley’s stunning upsets revealed that there’s enormous appetite among Democrats for primary challengers to take on incumbents who are out-of-touch with their districts.”
—Sean McElwee, Data for Progress
During a national strategy call last year, Ocasio-Cortez declared that “all Americans know money in politics is a huge problem, but unfortunately the way that we fix it is by demanding that our incumbents give it up or by running fierce campaigns ourselves.”
According to Politico, this denunciation of lawmakers who accept corporate donations irked House Democrats.
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