Jessica Cisneros launches second primary challenge against Cuellar in Texas

Jessica Cisneros launches second primary challenge against Cuellar in Texas
© Courtesy of Jessica Cisneros

Progressive Jessica Cisneros launched her second primary challenge against Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) in the state's 28th Congressional District on Thursday, setting up another intraparty battle between the establishment and progressive wings of the party. 

Cisneros, who works as an immigration and human rights attorney, lost to Cuellar by just over 3 points in the 2020 Democratic primary. 

"Now we're back to finish what we started," Cisneros said in her campaign launch video.

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The progressive candidate went on hit to Cuellar over immigration, his relationship with corporations and his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“I thought this pandemic would wake up our representative to the problems South Texans face daily, but Henry Cuellar proved to us once again that serving his Republican corporate donors matters more than serving our community," Cisneros said in a statement. 

Cisneros's announcement comes as progressives have suffered a number of primary losses over the past year, including in the Virginia Democratic gubernatorial primary, the New York City mayoral primary and special House elections in Louisiana’s 2nd District and New Mexico’s 1st District.

The left flank of the party's most recent primary defeat came on Tuesday in Ohio's 11th District, where establishment-backed candidate Shontel Brown defeated progressive Nina Turner. 

The progressive group Justice Democrats has already thrown its support behind Cisneros. 

But Republicans have their eye on Cuellar's seat as well. 

Former President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania ​​Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors Iran thinks it has the upper hand in Vienna — here's why it doesn't MORE performed well in Texas's Rio Grande Valley in the last election and has remained vocal about the flow of migrants from the southern border since leaving office. 

Cuellar, who has served in Congress since 2005, has become a key player in the immigration debate on Capitol Hill. The Lone Star State's 28th District is located along the U.S.-Mexico border, making it a target for Republicans.