Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is trying to help another young, left-leaning insurgent defeat a long-term Democratic incumbent — in Texas.
AOC on Tuesday announced that she’s backing Jessica Cisneros in a bid to topple 64-year-old veteran Rep. Henry Cuellar, first elected in 2004.
Cuellar is considered one of more the more conservative Democrats in Congress. He has supported efforts to restrict or ban abortions and has long been a backer of gun rights, earning an A rating from the National Rifle Association.
Cisneros, 26, is an immigration attorney who used to work in Cuellar’s D.C. office.
“The people of South Texas deserve a Democrat like Jessica who is going to fight for real people, not big corporate donors like the Koch Brothers, GEO Group, and Exxon,” Ocasio-Cortez said in statement put out by the Cisneros campaign.
“When Jessica is elected, not only will I no longer be the youngest person in Congress — I’ll have a strong new ally in the fight for Medicare for All, getting corporate money out of politics, and fixing our broken immigration system. I can tell you from experience: the pathway to power for people like Jessica is blocked every step of the way. But when we elevate leaders like Jessica, who are deeply connected to the problems and struggles facing her community, we have the power to make change for the better.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s intervention into the race is not a surprise. The congresswoman’s allies with Justice Democrats are backing Cisneros.
The group helped AOC upset 10-term Rep. Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary for the 14th congressional district that takes in parts of The Bronx and Queens last year, shocking the political world and making her the face of an emerging democratic socialist wing of the party. At 29, she was the youngest woman elected to Congress.
“I’m honored to have the support of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as I work to bring strong representation to working families across South Texas,” said Cisneros. “Though the Bronx and South Texas are worlds apart, both deserve leaders who will stand up to big corporate interests to fight for a living wage and health care for every American.”
Last weekend, AOC endorsed Bernie Sanders for president during a big rally in Long Island City.