Following an FBI raid on his home Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar aired a new TV ad in which he says he promised to “never stop fighting for South Texas,” and reaffirmed his commitment to his reelection.
On Wednesday, the FBI raided the nine-term congressman’s home in Laredo. The agency said it was conducting a “court-authorized law enforcement activity” but did not say what it was investigating. According to an ABC News report, a grand jury has issued subpoenas for records relating to Cuellar; his wife, Imelda; and at least one of his campaign staffers, and their ties to Azerbaijan companies. Cuellar has long been an advocate for Azerbaijan’s interests and is a member of the Congressional Azerbaijan Caucus. Cuellar’s office said that he would cooperate with any probe and has not been charged with a crime.
The incident comes within two months of the Democratic primary on March 1. The ad released this weekend does not mention the investigation.
Cuellar’s top contender for in the Democratic primary is Laredo attorney Jessica Cisneros — a former intern in his congressional office who had Bernie Sanders’ backing — and came within 4 percentage points of defeating him in the 2020 primary. Recently, Cisneros has received the endorsement of U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and former state Sen. Wendy Davis. Activist and educator Tannya Benavides is the third Democrat candidate.
Republican candidates for the seat in the 28th Congressional District, which includes Laredo and San Antonio, include a former staffer to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Cassy Garcia, and Air Force veteran from Universal City, Steven Fowler. Garcia has recently won the support of the National Border Patrol Council, which backed Cuellar during the last election.