POLITICS

Elizabeth Warren Endorses Progressive Rivals In Competitive Democratic Primaries

The 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful is throwing her support behind Jessica Cisneros, a Texas attorney seeking to unseat Rep. Henry Cuellar in 2020.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Monday endorsed progressive House candidates Jessica Cisneros and Marie Newman in their respective primary challenges against two incumbent Democrats.

The 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful’s backing of Cisneros and Newman is significant because she generally has not waded into primaries against the party establishment.

Newman is going after conservative Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), who narrowly defeated her in last year’s primary. She tweeted Monday that she was honored to have Warren’s support.

Cisneros, a 26-year-old immigration lawyer, is taking on Rep. Henry Cuellar, a seven-term Democrat who voted with President Donald Trump nearly 70% of the time in the last Congress.

“The people of Texas’ 28th district are ready for systematic change and deserve a Democrat that will be on the side of working people; not the side of big money and obstructionist Republicans,” Warren said in a statement released by Cisneros’ campaign. “I believe Jessica Cisneros is that fighter.

“As an immigration lawyer and daughter of small business owners growing up on the border, Jessica knows our diversity is our strength and that when progressives are unapologetic about our values and who we’re in this battle for, we win. It’s time Texans had a champion in Congress who does just that. I’m proud to support Jessica.”

Warren also announced Monday that she’s endorsing Working Families Party candidate Kendra Brooks for an at-large seat on the Philadelphia City Council and Democratic candidate Stephen Smith for the West Virginia governorship.

Warren’s endorsements follow the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s push to shield House Democrats from primary challengers. The group implemented a controversial policy earlier this year that cuts off business with vendors who work with candidates mounting such primary challenges.

The DCCC did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

Cisneros announced her bid for Cuellar’s seat in June after being recruited to run by Justice Democrats, the left-wing group that helped elect progressive firebrand Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Congress last year.

The political newcomer, who has described Cuellar as “Trump’s favorite Democrat,” said she’s proud to have the 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful’s support and pledged to focus on improving the lives of her constituents ― not corporate donors ― if elected.

“I’m so proud to receive this endorsement from Senator Warren, who has dedicated her career to fixing our corrupt political system and fighting for working families like mine,” Cisneros said in a statement. “Senator Warren’s support demonstrates that we’re building the momentum we need to bring real change to South Texas.”   

Cuellar fired back at Warren’s endorsement Monday, accusing the progressive senator from Massachusetts and his primary challenger of sharing “an agenda that would kill over 108,000 jobs” in his district.

“We told you the outside special interests were coming to take away local jobs,” he tweeted. “I’m fighting back. Will you join me?”

Colin Strother, a spokesman for Cuellar’s campaign, said the congressman’s comment about “special interests” referred to Justice Democrats.

“The only support [Cisneros] has is from people outside of the district,” he said. “Our opponent, like Senator Warren, is an extremist who supports policies that would send our district back to the Stone Age.”

Unlike Cuellar, who has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from corporate donors, Cisneros has vowed not to accept corporate PAC money.

Cisneros, the daughter of Mexican immigrants, is from Laredo, which borders Mexico. Her platform has all the hallmarks of a progressive agenda, including support for “Medicare for All,” the Green New Deal and tuition-free public college.

Democrats in Texas’ 28th Congressional District will choose their nominee on March 3.

Jennifer Bendery contributed to this report.

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