Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is once again butting heads with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the Democratic Party establishment.
The freshman congresswoman has offered up an endorsement for a young far-left progressive like her who is challenging a relatively moderate Democrat incumbent in Texas, the Washington Free Beacon reports. AOC has reportedly thrown her support behind Jessica Cisneros, who is challenging Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX).
AOC breaks ranks
Cisneros, who was labeled by Ocasio-Cortez as a “strong new ally in the fight for Medicare for All,” also has the backing of the Justice Democrats group, a far-left organization that also helped Ocasio-Cortez and fellow “Squad” member Ilhan Omar (D-MN) get elected to the House in 2018.
Our homegrown campaign here in South Texas is making noise across the country — @AOC heard the message of our movement all the way in the Bronx! Proud to have her on our team as we work to fight corporate interests and give power back to the people of TX-28! https://t.co/yaXnUWmaEB
— Jessica Cisneros for Congress (@JCisnerosTX) October 22, 2019
Cuellar, meanwhile, has the backing of both Pelosi and Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL), chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). Pelosi told the crowd at the recent Texas Tribune Festival that she “absolutely” supports Cuellar and is “very proud of Henry’s work in the Congress,” though she noted she doesn’t strictly “have a policy of endorsing incumbents.”
Bustos did not respond to a request for comment from the Free Beacon, but previously lauded the congressman for knowing his district “like the back of his hand.”
“I completely support him,” Bustos said. “He has very good relationships with the vast majority of his colleagues — who are supportive of him — and I think he’ll be fine.”
“Donald Trump’s favorite Democrat”
Ocasio-Cortez’s endorsement of Cisneros — an immigration and human rights attorney who also appears to have the backing of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) — was first reported by HuffPost, which labeled Cuellar a “conservative” Democrat who has been opposed to the more extreme proposals from his party on issues such as abortion, gun control, and immigration policies.
Indeed, Cisneros has called Cuellar “Donald Trump’s favorite Democrat,” and Ocasio-Cortez referred to him as “regressive.” Cuellar represents Texas’ 28th District, which stretches from San Antonio to Laredo on the southern border.
“We need people’s support to let the people of South Texas know that for the first time in over a decade, we have another choice,” Cisneros told HuffPost. “It took 13 years for someone to step up to Henry Cuellar, but it’s been so great to have the support of people both within the district and across the country.”
But Cuellar doesn’t seem concerned. “While our opponent continues to be focused on out of state endorsements, we remain focused on the voters in the district will actually decide this race in March,” Colin Strother, a spokesperson for Cuellar, told HuffPost.
“This race is going to be decided by the voters of the 28th District of Texas, not out-of-state PACs and celebrities who seem to be the only people supporting our opponent,” Strother added in remarks to the Free Beacon. Cuellar himself has also maintained that he thinks voters will rally behind him come Election Day.
“I’m not going to say anything negative about the young lady. But the group supporting her, the Justice Democrats, it’s a radical, far-left group that wants to impose their vision from New York into South Texas,” he said in June. “And I don’t think the voters are going to be supporting that.”