Elections 2020FederalRep. Henry Cuellar Fends off Progressive Challenger Jessica Cisneros

In the intra-party proxy fight, Rep. Henry Cuellar emerged battered but victorious against progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros.
March 4, 2020
In the most interesting Democratic congressional primary this go-around, longtime incumbent Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) squared off with progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros. When the dust settled, Cuellar emerged victorious by fewer than 3,000 votes, delivering a blow to progressives seeking to push Texas Democrats further to the left.

As of mid-February, over $3 million had already been spent between the two candidates this cycle — and that doesn’t include all the outside money that came in for both sides.

The final percentage was Rep. Cuellar at 52 percent and Cisneros at 48 percent.

Cisneros was backed by the socialist Justice Democrats — the group behind Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) insurgent upset in 2018. Even organizations like Planned Parenthood got involved on Cisneros’ behalf.

On Wednesday, she said, “This fight was an opportunity to prove that a brown girl from the border with a whole community behind her could take on the machine and bring hope to South Texans. This is just the beginning in #TX28.”

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Cuellar’s campaign did not reply to The Texan’s request for comment by this article’s publishing.

Turnout in this race blew away 2016’s total by almost 20,000 votes.

Cuellar will likely have an easy path to reelection in November.

This piece will be updated as new developments arise.


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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.