LIVE OAK, Texas — A revolution may be brewing in South Texas, where Henry Cuellar — one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress — faces a young immigration lawyer backed by a who’s who from the party’s left wing, including presidential front-runner Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Millions in outside spending have poured in as abortion rights groups, unions and a long list of progressive groups pitch in for the 26-year-old challenger, Jessica Cisneros.
The incumbent, a pro-gun, pro-trade centrist who hasn’t had a serious challenge since winning the seat 15 years ago, is getting help from one of the most peculiar alliances in memory, a team that includes Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the party’s House campaign arm and, startlingly, the donor network created by the ultra-conservative Koch brothers.
In Cuellar’s corner, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which rarely backs Democrats, launched a $200,000 campaign focused on his support for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, Trump’s much-touted upgrade to the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Cisneros keeps some distance from AOC and the socialist label, though.
“I obviously admire her a lot and appreciate all the support she’s giving the campaign” but “in South Texas we all tend to shy away from labels. We don’t like to be placed in a box.”
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