Sanders endorses Jessica Cisneros over sitting Democratic lawmaker

Courtesy of Jessica Cisneros

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Monday endorsed Texas Democrat Jessica Cisneros’s primary challenge to Rep. Henry Cuellar ahead of their March 1 match-up. 

Cisneros is a progressive favorite and narrowly lost to Cuellar by fewer than 3,000 votes in 2020. Cuellar, who represents a border district, has emerged as a top target for the party’s left flank over his opposition to abortion rights, among other issues.

The endorsement from Sanders, who also backed Cisneros in 2020, comes as the primary heats up following an FBI search of Cuellar’s home and campaign office in Texas, reportedly over ties to Azerbaijan. Cuellar has denied any wrongdoing.

“Jessica knows that real change comes from the bottom on up, not the top on down,” Sanders said in a statement. “She will fight for the working class in Congress and together we will build a movement to transform this nation so that it works for all our people.”

Besides Sanders, Cisneros also has the backing of other progressive lawmakers and groups like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Justice Democrats and the Texas AFL-CIO.

“I am honored to have the support of Bernie Sanders in this grassroots campaign to deliver for working families,” Cisneros said. “We’re taking on Cuellar’s Republican corporate backers with a positive vision for South Texas which includes delivering on Medicare for All, reproductive freedom, and good-paying union jobs.”

The primary between Cisneros and Cuellar has gotten particularly bitter, with progressives hitting the incumbent over his policies as well as the FBI search and suggesting he does not adequately represent his constituents. Cuellar, meanwhile, has insisted the search will not force him out of the race and has hit Cisneros from winning the backing of out-of-state liberals.

After defeating Cisneros in the 2020 primary, Cuellar went on to win reelection that year by almost 20 points over Republican Sandra Whitten, who is running again in the GOP primary this year.

Tags 2022 midterms 2022 primaries Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Bernie Sanders Henry Cuellar Jessica Cisneros Progressive flank Texas

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