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Cuellar Defeats Cisneros In South Texas Primary Runoff, Recount Shows

Ms. Cisneros, who has worked with migrant families seeking asylum, approached immigration and border policy from a humanitarian perspective. She called abortion a health care problem and championed progressive goals such as Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage, and the Green New Deal.

In early May, the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion quashing Roe v. Wade, which enshrined a constitutional right to abortion, seemed to give Ms Cisneros a boost late in the race. Mr. Cuellar was the only Democrat in the House to vote against the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would have guaranteed the right to abortion through federal law.

Mr. Cuellar’s district runs from Laredo to San Antonio, and the realignment changes made it a little more Democratic, with more voters from Bexar County. The district fell from 76.9 percent Hispanic to 75.3 percent, but a slight increase in the number of white voters would help Ms. Cisneros if those new voters were liberals from San Antonio.

Ms. Cisneros encountered progressive flares—Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, and Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Like Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, Ms. Cisneros was recruited by the Justice Democrats, a progressive political action committee that had placed a full-page ad in a local newspaper seeking candidates. Laredo community leaders have submitted her name.

Mr. Cuellar received the approvals from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who made robocalls for him, as well as South Carolina Representative James E. Clyburn, the House majority whip, and New York Representative Hakeem Jeffries, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.

The race was at times controversial.

Ms Cisneros criticized Mr Cuellar as a corrupt politician. In the latter part of the competition, billboards appeared in Laredo alleging Ms Cisneros’ policies and her personal life, calling her a “home wreck.” Mr Cuellar denied having anything to do with the billboards and said he did not approve of them.

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