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Henry Cuellar fends off Democratic challenger in Texas House primary

Henry Cuellar fends off Democratic challenger in Texas House primary
© Greg Nash

Moderate Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar (Texas) fended off a primary challenge from the left on Tuesday, defeating Jessica Cisneros, a 26-year-old lawyer who received strong backing from progressive groups. 

Cuellar, a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, was first elected to represent Texas’s 28th District in 2004, having previously served as the Texas secretary of State and as a state representative. 

With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, Cuellar was leading Cisneros by 51.8 percent to 48.2 percent.

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Cuellar had the cash advantage in the race and received endorsements from House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: McConnell says Congress will take up stimulus package at start of 2021 | Lawmakers see better prospects for COVID deal after election Overnight Health Care: House Dem report blasts Trump coronavirus response | Regeneron halts trial of antibody drug in sickest hospitalized patients | McConnell says Congress will take up stimulus package at start of 2021 McConnell says Congress will take up stimulus package at start of 2021 MORE (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerDemocrats seek wave to bolster House majority Hoyer lays out ambitious Democratic agenda for 2021, with health care at top Top Democrats introduce resolution calling for mask mandate, testing program in Senate MORE (D-Md.), in addition to groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 

Cisneros, who once interned in Cuellar’s office and works as an immigration attorney, was recruited by the progressive group Justice Democrats and received endorsements from Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTlaib, Ocasio-Cortez offer bill to create national public banking system Cutting defense spending by 10 percent would debilitate America's military The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Election night could be a bit messy MORE (I-Vt.), Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren has expressed interest in being Biden's Treasury secretary: report The Democrats' 50 state strategy never reached rural America What a Biden administration should look like MORE (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOn The Money: McConnell says Congress will take up stimulus package at start of 2021 | Lawmakers see better prospects for COVID deal after election Tlaib, Ocasio-Cortez offer bill to create national public banking system 'Drink water and don't be racist': Ocasio-Cortez gives Republicans upset over Vanity Fair outfit 'pointers' on how to look better MORE (D-N.Y.).

But despite the backing from high-profile progressives, she was not able to unseat the longtime congressman in the left-leaning district. 

Cuellar is a senior member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee.