Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blasted her party’s leaders after left-wing immigration attorney Jessica Cisneros failed to immediately defeat Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar in a heated primary.
Cuellar, a nine-term incumbent, is leading Cisneros by 177 votes in Texas’ 28th District as of Wednesday morning. Although Cuellar declared victory early Wednesday, Cisneros has not yet conceded, and ballots will be recounted. Top Democrats, most notably Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Majority Whip James Clyburn, supported Cuellar’s campaign through robocalls and in-person events, while Ocasio-Cortez and Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed Cisneros. (RELATED: Henry Cuellar And AOC-Backed Candidate Headed To Runoff In South Texas District)
“Accountability isn’t partisan. This was an utter failure of leadership,” Ocasio-Cortez complained of leadership’s support for Cuellar.
“Congress should not be an incumbent protection racket and sadly it is treated as such by far too many. The fact is those who fail their communities deserve to lose. They don’t need rescuing from powerful leaders who state they fight for gun safety, the right to choose, and more,” she continued.
TX28 is an extremely close race. If Cuellar wins, leadership’s decision to go to the mat for a pro-NRA incumbent will be the reason why. If Cisneros pulls it out, they will have mobilized against a badly needed grassroots for Nov & fought against a historic victory. And for what?
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 25, 2022
Consistently rated one of the most conservative Democrat in the House of Representatives, Cuellar was the only member of his party to oppose a bill that would legalize abortion up to the moment of birth and eliminate conscience protections for healthcare providers. He has spoken out against the Biden administration’s handling of the border crisis, and has an A rating from the National Rifle Association.
Cuellar has claimed that Cisneros’ left-wing record would allow Republicans more easily take the seat in November. Although he won re-election by 19 points in 2020, Joe Biden would have only defeated Donald Trump in the district by seven points.
The winner will face off against Cassy Garcia, a former staffer to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, in the general election.