Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Progressive primary challenger to Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) Jessica Cisneros speaks to supporters.

Progressive primary challenger to Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) Jessica Cisneros speaks to supporters. (Photo: Jessica Cisneros for Congress)

'Debate Her': As Progressive Democratic Challenger Jessica Cisneros Racks Up Endorsements, Incumbent Henry Cuellar Pretends She Doesn't Exist

"Our people are waiting, Rep. Cuellar. Debate me."

Eoin Higgins

Right-wing Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar is continuing to refuse to debate his primary challenger, progressive lawyer Jessica Cisneros, despite calls to do so from around the country as Cisneros continues to rack up endorsements from state and national figures and groups. 

Cuellar, a Democrat from south Texas, has dismissed Cisneros as an unserious candidate.

"Our people are waiting, Rep. Cuellar," Cisneros tweeted on Sunday. "Debate me."

The 240,000-member Texas AFL/CIO announced their support for Cisneros on Sunday. The endorsement is a major coup for the primary challenger.

In a video announcing the endorsement, Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy praised Cisneros' priorities and campaign. 

"The 240,000 members of the Texas AFL-CIO stated that we are going to stand proudly with Jessica Cisneros in her race for Congress," Levy said. "This district needs someone who is going to stand up for working people, stand up for poor people, and stand up for justice."

The backing of the union is a big get, tweeted journalist Brendan O'Connor.

"Cisneros is an immigration attorney running against Henry Cuellar, a right-wing Democrat and one of the worst people in Congress in either party," said O'Connor, "extremely big deal for her to get the Texas AFL-CIO endorsement."

Ocasio-Cortez also gave Cisneros a shout-out.

"Gaining an endorsement this big in a primary like hers is almost unheard of," said the New York Democrat of Cisneros. "She's working it."

Cisneros announced her campaign in June. As Common Dreams has reported, the immigration and human rights lawyer has been endorsed by popular national figures Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). 

The raft of endorsements for Cisneros make clear that the time for her and Cuellar to debate is now, said Jamaal Bowman, himself a progressive primary challenger to Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.).

"Debate her," tweeted Bowman.

Cuellar spokesman Colin Strother did not respond to requests for comment. In an interview in June, Strother told Common Dreams that Cisneros was being directed by progressive group Justice Democrats and other "upper city special interest groups." 

"It's telling that my opponent is still refusing to debate me by claiming I'm 'not a serious candidate,'" Cisneros said in a statement Monday. "Yet here we are, a challenger raising over a million dollars and receiving the endorsement of the largest labor federation in the state—which he's failed to receive because he doesn't stand with our workers."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Bloodbath': At Least 6 Dead, Dozens Wounded in Mass Shooting at Illinois July 4th Parade

"What freedom do we have if we fear being gunned down at a parade?" asked one progressive politician horrified by the reported carnage.

Brett Wilkins ·

On This July 4th, Abortion Rights Movement Says 'We're Not in the Mood for Fireworks'

"If we don’t have the ability to make decisions about if, when, and how to grow our families—we don't have freedom."

Brett Wilkins ·

Deadly Glacier Collapse in Italy 'Linked Directly to Climate Change'

At least seven people were killed when a glacier slid down a mountainside near a popular climbing route in the Alps on Sunday.

Julia Conley ·

'Organized Whitewash': US Claims Israeli Military's Murder of Journalist Not Intentional

"The odds that those responsible for the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh will be held to account are all but nonexistent," said the human rights group B'Tselem in response to findings of U.S. State Department.

Brett Wilkins ·

Hundreds March in Akron Enraged by Police Killing of Jayland Walker

"The police can do whatever they want," said one local resident through tears. "They can take our children's lives and think it's okay."

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo