Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) speaks with reporters outside on Capitol Hill on Thursday, June 27, 2019. (Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

'Utterly Shameful': Pelosi Slammed for Boosting Koch-Backed Texas Democrat Over Progressive Challenger Jessica Cisneros

"Nancy Pelosi is backing a 'Democrat' who votes with Trump nearly 70% of the time, has an 'A' rating from the NRA, is anti-choice, and has received tens of thousands of dollars from the Kochs."

Jake Johnson

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stirred outrage Saturday by visiting Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar at his campaign headquarters in Laredo and voicing hope that the Koch-backed, anti-choice Democrat will ride to a "resounding victory" over progressive primary challenger Jessica Cisneros on March 3.

"We want this to be not only a victory, but a resounding victory for Henry Cuellar," Pelosi told dozens of Cuellar campaign workers and supporters. "Every step you take, every door you knock, every call you make, will make that resounding victory possible—and it includes getting out a big Democratic vote prepared to vote again in the general election so that we turn Texas blue."

"We assume that Henry will win, but we don't take anything for granted," Pelosi added. "The word 'assume'—ass of you and me. Assume nothing." Ahead of her visit to Cuellar's campaign office, Pelosi headlined a fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which has also thrown its weight behind Cuellar in Texas' 28th congressional district.

Justice Democrats, which is supporting Cisneros, sent an email to supporters late Saturday blasting Pelosi's support for Cuellar as "utterly shameful." 

"Nancy Pelosi is backing a 'Democrat' who votes with Trump nearly 70% of the time, has an 'A' rating from the NRA, is anti-choice, and has received tens of thousands of dollars from the Kochs," the group wrote.

Cuellar is the first-ever congressional Democrat to receive reelection support from Americans for Prosperity Action, a super PAC funded by billionaire Charles Koch.

As HuffPost reported, Cuellar's reelection bid is also backed by "large national and Texas corporations and business associations, including the American Bankers Association, Texas Bankers Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Laredo Chamber of Commerce."

By contrast, Cisneros—a 26-year-old immigration and human rights attorney—is running a union-backed campaign fueled by grassroots donors and supported by progressive members of Congress, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Referring to Cuellar and other right-wing Democrats like him, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Saturday that "there are [Democratic] reps in SAFE blue seats who side with the NRA, are anti-LGBT+, and yet are protected because they advance the interests of big donors, Wall St., fossil fuels, etc."

"It's not 'wrong' to take that on and do better," the New York Democrat wrote. "This isn't about swing seats or pushing communities 'too far left.' It's about accountability. Working families deserve so much better. And if we aren't willing to admit where we can do better, then what is the point? Our job is to serve the people, not the powerful."


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.

Trump Turns to SCOTUS Over Mar-a-Lago Docs, But 'It Won't Stop DOJ'

"This is a very specific and narrow request by Trump the merits of which turn on a technical jurisdictional question, but which runs into fatal procedural obstacles long before that," said one analyst. "It's not laughable, but only because it's small."

Jessica Corbett ·


Despite Calls for Diplomacy to End War, US Confirms More Weapons Headed to Ukraine

"Are there still negotiation possibilities?" asked Noam Chomsky. "There's only one way to find out. That's to try. If you refuse to try, of course, there's no option, no possibilities."

Brett Wilkins ·


Groups Warn SCOTUS May Gut 'Foundational' Digital Rights Law

"Weakening Section 230 would be catastrophic—disproportionately silencing and endangering marginalized communities," said one campaigner.

Jessica Corbett ·


Report Reveals How Utilities' Climate Pledges Amount to 'Textbook Greenwashing'

Despite the passage of nearly $370 billion in renewable energy funding, the nation's utilities are squandering "a massive opportunity for clean electricity and electrification."

Julia Conley ·


$158,000 Cost for ALS Treatment Called 'A Poster Child' for Unjust Drug Pricing

"The price of the newly approved drug combination Relyvrio to treat ALS," said one critic, "is yet another clear and powerful example of unjustified high prices set by drug companies that ultimately exploit patients."

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo