Cuellar gets major Latino PAC support from Congress ahead of runoff
Despite his anti-abortion stance, and challenger Jessica Cisneros hammering it home, Democratic money still flows in droves to the incumbent.
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A new super PAC led by consultants for Joe Biden, Barack Obama, and Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaigns is tackling a Texas primary to fund a conservative Democrat who is anti-choice.
Democratic leaders have been heavily criticized for continuing to support Rep. Henry Cuellar in his upcoming runoff election against progressive Jessica Cisneros, even after the leak of the Supreme Court draft opinion set to overturn reproductive protections.
Cuellar is the last remaining anti-abortion Democrat in the House, and last September, he was the only House Democrat to vote against passing the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would have protected the federal right to abortion throughout the United States.
Henry Cuellar was the only Democrat to vote with Republicans against codifying #Roe.— Jessica Cisneros (@JCisnerosTX) May 3, 2022
I’ll always stand for our health care and the right to choose. In 21 days, Cuellar & I will face off in the Democratic runoff.
Let’s defeat the last anti-choice Democrat in the US House. #TX28
On Friday, April 29, America United, a political action committee recently formed to bolster Latino House candidates, invested $241,000 into Cuellar’s campaign, despite the fact that his opponent is also Latina.
The move suggests that a small portion of Democratic operatives and donors are still inclined to support an anti-choice candidate in a GOP-controlled state, even though the federal abortion ban is on the brink of vanishing.
The pending Supreme Court decision on abortion could have major consequences for Texas residents, as Republicans passed a “trigger law” last year that will immediately make performing abortions a felony after 30 days if Roe v. Wade is repealed.
When Politico published the draft Supreme Court decision on Monday, May 2, top Democratic leaders quickly denounced it. The next day, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said in a tweet that the whole concept of politicians being able to control the choices that people make with their own bodies is unacceptable.
For 49 years, women have had the constitutional right to make choices about their body. The whole notion of politicians controlling those decisions is beyond the pale. It ought to be alarming to us.— James E. Clyburn (@WhipClyburn) May 3, 2022
“It ought to be alarming to us,” Clyburn wrote.
But on Wednesday, May 4, Clyburn hosted a get-out-the-vote rally with Cuellar. Addressing a crowd of about 80 people, Clyburn praised the conservative Texas representative for his role as chief deputy whip, saying that together they have successfully gotten “Joe Biden’s agenda across the finish line.”
“This whole notion that you’ve got to agree with everybody on everything is pretty sophomoric to me,” Clyburn added.
Addressing a crowd of about 80 people from the stage of his campaign rally, Clyburn hailed Cuellar for his role as a chief deputy whip, saying together they have been “very effective in getting Joe Biden’s [agenda] across the finish line.”
“We have to sit down with people with whom we do not agree and try to find common ground so that you do what is necessary to continue moving this country forward,” Clyburn said.
House Speaker Nancy pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries are also backing Cuellar, despite all three leaders being in support of abortion access.
Even in the wake of news that Roe v. Wade may be overturned, the Democratic leadership is backing right-wing Texas representative Henry Cuellar against his primary opponent, Jessica Cisneros, a Berniecrat who favors abortion rights. https://t.co/eHL0usFHvO— Jacobin (@jacobin) May 10, 2022
Cisneros told The Intercept that the party leadership’s support for her challenger highlights the “cognitive dissonance” going on right now.
“Democratic leadership is saying one thing, the actions are showing another by supporting the last anti-choice Democrat in Congress, which is Henry Cuellar,” Cisneros said.
ICYMI: A new Latino-focused super PAC spent nearly $250,000 backing anti-abortion Democrat Henry Cuellar in his upcoming runoff against pro-choice Latina challenger Jessica Cisneros. @ddayen and @andrewperezdc have the story.https://t.co/FQGBlvmYIm— The American Prospect (@TheProspect) May 10, 2022
The majority of outside spending for the Cuellar-Cisneros race has come from Cisneros’ campaign, including a recent expenditure of $138,000 from WOMEN VOTE!
Since the start of the runoff, outside groups have spent about $850,000 to back Cisneros and oppose Cuellar. But as the election grows closer, Cuellar is seeing an increase in outside spending.
In addition to the $241,000 from America United, the PAC for the National Association of Realtors, a real estate industry lobbying group, spent $43,500 last week on online advertising for Cuellar.