WASHINGTON POST: In echo of presidential race, insurgents challenge the establishment in Super Tuesday congressional races

Sunday, March 1, 2020 - 12:15pm

An insurgent candidate at odds with party elites attempts to seize the nomination from establishment rivals: That infighting roiling the Democratic presidential race is playing out in this week’s Super Tuesday congressional primaries.

Just as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is rankling moderate Democrats in his quest for the presidency, two Texas House candidates — one a Democrat, the other a Republican — have crossed swords with party regulars in their bid to unseat veteran incumbents. The same dynamic exists in a pair of Democratic Senate primaries, in North Carolina and Texas.

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Supporting Cuellar have been a pair of typically Republican groups: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and American for Prosperity Action, the campaign arm of the conservative network overseen by industrialist Charles Koch.

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A Cisneros victory would send “a message that we should pay attention to our base, that we should pay attention to the need for a member of Congress to stand up for what is right,” she said. “I think every incumbent member, me included, has to always make the case every two years.”

And a Cisneros loss, Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview, wouldn’t mean that other Democratic incumbents could rest easy.

“Underdogs don’t expect to win every time, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t try,” she said.

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