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Far-left lawmakers and groups showed anger toward House Democrat leadership after incumbent Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) declared victory in the “too close to call” Texas runoff against socialist Jessica Cisneros Tuesday night.
Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) aimed at her party’s leadership — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), who reportedly ran recorded robocalls for the Democrat right before the race — after they supported Cuellar, and potentially led him to victory this past week.
“On the day of a mass shooting and weeks after news of Roe, Democratic Party leadership rallied for a pro-NRA, anti-choice incumbent under investigation in a close primary. Robocalls, fundraisers, all of it,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a tweet. “Accountability isn’t partisan. This was an utter failure of leadership.”
In his statement declaring victory Tuesday night, Cuellar thanked Clyburn “for his steadfast support.” As of Wednesday night, the socialist has yet to concede, with 95 percent of the votes in and losing 50.2 percent to 49.8 percent, according to the New York Times. However, the race has still been marked too close to call by other major outlets.
Clyburn has, in fact, helped support other candidates from the far-left challenges and Republican opponents, as the Hill noted:
Clyburn, in particular, has helped Democrats against progressive and Republican opponents. In the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, he famously galvanized the Black vote in the South, propelling now-President Biden to victory against progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). And more than a year later, he backed now-Rep. Shontel Brown (D-Ohio) in her race against Sanders ally and progressive Nina Turner in the special election for Ohio’s 11th District. Brown defeated Turner twice, once in the 2021 special election and again in the Democratic primary earlier this month.
Democrat strategist and Clyburn adviser Antjuan Seawright argued that the far-left “can’t have it both ways” and that “This has not been the first time the progressives have been upset because people decided to make their decisions about who they support.”
“I don’t think they get to decide what to be upset about because in the same way they feel like they’re upset about the speaker and the whip’s intervention, the speaker and the whip could be upset about their intervention,” Seawright told the Hill, while also pointed at Ocasio-Cortez endorsing Turner last year when she ran against Brown.
“With a margin this small, it’s clear that a pro-choice, anti-NRA Democrat could have easily won if it wasn’t for the full-throated support of Pelosi and the party establishment in Washington for anti-choice, pro-NRA Henry Cuellar,” Waleed Shahid, the communications director for Justice Democrats, told the Hill.
Sawyer Hackett, a senior communications strategist with another far-left group, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, argued that more moderate members like Cuellar aligned themselves with special interests groups and not their constituents.
“They aligned themselves with AIPAC, Big Oil, gun manufacturers, and the Koch brothers to support a man who consistently undermines our party and sent a signal to voters that incumbency is more important than Democratic values,” said Hackett.
The Associated Press also noted that this runoff could “offer clues” into how abortion rights may affect the midterm election. Cuellar has come under attack in recent weeks as abortion rights groups have poured money and resources on the ground and the airwaves. This is due to the Democrat being one of the only anti-abortion Democrats remaining in Congress. Cisneros is pro-abortion.
Looking further into the anger from the left, the executive director of Our Revolution, Joseph Geevarghese, claimed that elected Democrats have also turned their back on working families.
“Democratic leadership and countless corporate interests poured endless fundraising support into the incumbent’s campaign to fit their uninspiring, anti-progress mold,” Geevarghese told the Hill. ”It’s time for Washington to wake up and recognize that working families want a progressive agenda.”