Lone pro-life House Democrat gets endorsement from party leaders despite progressive fury

A House Democrat who was targeted by progressives over his pro-life and pro-gun stance just got a major boost from top members of his party.  Rep. Henry Cuellar’s re-election campaign announced on Thursday morning that he has been endorsed by the top three House Democrats – Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Minority Whip Katherine Clark and Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar – signaling that Democratic leaders are taking no chances in their bid to expand their majority next year. He has also been backed by former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn, the previous leadership trio that stood by Cuellar, D-Texas, even as hardline left lawmakers actively campaigned against him. The Texas Tribune first reported the endorsements. “I am honored to have the current and previous House Democratic Leadership endorse my 2024 campaign,” Cuellar said in a statement, adding a promise that he’ll “win again decisively in 2024” in order to “help bring a Democratic majority to the House of Representatives.” TEXAS CONGRESSMAN REINTRODUCES BILL TO COLLECT BIOMETRIC DATA ON IMMIGRANTS AT THE SOUTHERN BORDER Cuellar’s 28th Congressional District, anchored in Laredo, has been targeted by Republicans in recent years as they hope to squash Democratic aspirations of turning Texas into a battleground state. He won by roughly 13 points against a Republican challenger last November, but only after narrowly surviving a primary race that was initially so close it was forced into a runoff. TEXAS GOV. ABBOTT DEFENDS DECISION TO BUILDING FLOATING BORDER WALL AMID IMMIGRATION CRISIS  His progressive opponent, Jessica Cisneros, was endorsed by several members of the House’s “Squad,” including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass.  Two of the Senate’s furthest-left members, Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., also backed Cisneros. Progressives in the House isolated and publicly criticized Cuellar over his pro-life and pro-Second Amendment stance. He was the only Democrat to vote against the Women’s Health Protection Act when Pelosi brought it to the floor after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade. “The last time leadership waded in to save [Cuellar], he thanked them by obstructing the party’s signature legislation, paving the way for the child tax credit to collapse and imperiling millions while taking a victory lap for it,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote during his last primary. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT FILES INJUNCTION AGAINST TEXAS OVER FLOATING BORDER BARRIER IN RIO GRANDE  Jeffries’ statement endorsing Cuellar on Thursday makes clear that he’s still a high priority for leadership. Democrats cannot afford to lose vulnerable members if they hope to take back the House next November. “Henry Cuellar is an accomplished advocate for the people of South Texas who is working hard to build an economy from the middle out and the bottom up. His unwavering support for the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure law helped get these important legislative accomplishments over the finish line, delivering billions of dollars to the state of Texas,” Jeffries said. “Extreme MAGA Republicans targeted Henry for defeat last year. But the residents of South Texas decisively returned him back to Washington.”
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