Pelosi signals support for Henry Cuellar

Pelosi signals support for Henry Cuellar

Isabel Webb Carey
Isabel Webb Carey
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March 24, 2022

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi affirmed her support for incumbent Democratic candidates, including U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Texas moderate who is set to face Jessica Cisneros in the primary runoffs.

“I support my incumbents,” Pelosi said during an unrelated news conference in Austin that marked the anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. “I support every one of them, from right to left. That is what I do.”

Earlier this month, Cuellar was unable to secure his party’s nomination in the primaries and will face progressive attorney Jessica Cisneros in what is expected to be a bitter May 24 runoff. Prior to the election, the FBI raided Cuellar’s home and campaign office, though releasing almost no details about why the bureau targeted the representative.

Arguing that the nine-term incumbent is too conservative to represent the district, Cisneros has challenged Cuellar on his moderate stances, including on abortion and healthcare. She has also received endorsements from U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley, as well as from the influential group that works to elect Democratic women who support abortion rights, EMILY’s List.

Cisneros had previously run against him in 2020 and lost by a small margin. In the lead-up to that primary, Pelosi visited Laredo and campaigned for Cuellar. In 2022, however, Pelosi stopped short at campaigning for Cuellar, but reiterated her policy of supporting incumbents, noting that she has her “eye on November because we have no intention of losing.”

The winner of the primary runoff will likely face a fraught election race in November. The GOP have indicated their belief that they have a chance to flip Cuellar’s district as they push to expand their influence in South Texas. There is a GOP primary runoff underway between Cassy Garcia, a former staffer for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, and Sandra Whitten, the 2020 GOP nominee for the seat.

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Isabel Webb Carey

Isabel Webb Carey

Isabel Webb Carey attends the University of Texas at Austin in the Plan II Honors Program with a certificate in Core Texts and Ideas. Her interests include education, local governance, sustainability, and equity. Isabel enjoys dancing, hiking, and live music. She is also a staff writer for the Texas Orator. Email her at isabelwebbcarey@gmail.com
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