A grass-roots Democratic group that helped power the upset victory of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has identified a Texas Democrat as its first target ahead of the 2020 congressional primaries — but as of now, Ocasio-Cortez herself is staying neutral.
Justice Democrats, a political committee founded after the 2016 election to reshape the Democratic Party through primary challenges, is working to recruit a challenger to Rep. Henry Cuellar, a seven-term congressman from a strongly Democratic district who’s one of the few anti-abortion-rights voices in the party’s House conference.
In a statement, the group compared Texas’s 28th Congressional District, which gave the president just 38.5 percent of the vote in 2016, to other districts where left-leaning candidates have unseated incumbents. It is launching a “primary Cuellar fund” to encourage any potential candidate that there will be resources if he or she jumps into the race.
“There’s an Ocasio-Cortez and [Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna] Pressley in blue districts across America, tired of seeing long-standing incumbents serve corporate interests, work with Trump’s agenda, and work against the progressive movement,” said Alexandra Rojas, the executive director of Justice Democrats. “These grass-roots leaders just need a little bit of encouragement and support.”
Cuellar’s office did not respond to a question from The Washington Post, but he has long been seen as a target for the party’s left wing as it works to build its bench. Last year, after a left-wing primary challenger to Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.) was narrowly defeated, Cuellar told The Post that he would hold his seat in any primary.
“They came after me twice, and I beat ’em,” Cuellar said. “LBJ used to say: What’s the difference between a cannibal and a liberal Democrat? Cannibals don’t eat their own.”
The Justice Democrats’ campaign to oust “corporate Democrats” was restarted after the 2018 elections, with Ocasio-Cortez, one of her party’s biggest stars, as its de facto spokeswoman. In a mid-November call with activists, Ocasio-Cortez said that they could “save this country” by either shaming incumbents out of accepting “money from oil and gas companies” or by ousting them at the polls.
“We’ve got to primary folks,” said Saikat Chakrabarti, who would become the congresswoman’s chief of staff.
But Ocasio-Cortez is not intervening in the “primary Cuellar” campaign right now. In her first days in office, the congresswoman has publicly criticized a House rule that required offsets for any spending increases, while privately working to get appointed to at least one committee with jurisdiction over taxes or health care.
While she was not appointed to the Ways and Means Committee after a left-wing campaign on her behalf, Ocasio-Cortez is expected to get a seat on the Financial Services Committee. She is not part of Justice Democrats’ primary recruitment push.
“We’re not active in their process,” said Ocasio-Cortez’s spokesman, Corbin Trent, a co-founder of Justice Democrats. “We’re focused on getting up and going.”
Cuellar himself arrived in Congress via a primary challenge, ousting a more liberal colleague in 2004 to win his seat. He defeated that colleague in a 2006 rematch and has been politically safe ever since.
Left-wing campaign groups, which had their greatest success last year in deep-blue districts, have pointed to the heavy Democratic advantage in Cuellar’s seat as evidence that anyone who unseated the congressman would be elected in November. Cuellar also rankled Democrats last year by helping raise money for Rep. John Carter (R-Tex.), who narrowly defeated a strong Democratic challenger in the Austin exurbs.
“South Texas is in a special position to lead the nation on immigration, renewable energy, and health care, yet Henry Cuellar has failed to do this by instead voting with Donald Trump nearly 70 percent of the time,” said Danny Diaz, an activist in the district who co-founded a voter turnout group, Cambio (Change) Texas.
Trump tax returns show he held a bank account in China — as he spent years pursuing business deals there: report
On Tuesday, as part of their series on President Donald Trump's tax returns, The New York Times revealed that the president has held a previously unknown bank account in China, as he spent years pursuing business deals in the country.
"Mr. Trump’s own business history is filled with overseas financial deals, and some have involved the Chinese state," reported Mike McIntire, Russ Buettner, and Susanne Craig. "He spent a decade unsuccessfully pursuing projects in China, operating an office there during his first run for president and forging a partnership with a major government-controlled company."
The FDA repeatedly stood up to Trump on coronavirus — and even won some victories: NYT
President Donald J. Trump has repeatedly tried to undermine the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) and now, with just two weeks until Election Day, the world is learning more about the behind-the-scenes battles that have shaken these governmental entities to the core.
Approximately two weeks after Trump's release from Walter Reed Medical Center, there is no "cure," as the president stated, and he is not "immune." No one is immune - and there is no successful vaccine, regardless of how much Trump claims one will arrive before Nov. 3. The F.D.A. published the guidelines in briefing materials to an advisory committee that will discuss them on Thursday, effectively making them official. To be clear, the F.D.A.has not approved Trump's miraculous cure of a cocktail - even though he has claimed differently.
America is on pace for record-shattering early voter turnout — including in critical states: report
On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that voters are casting early ballots in numbers on track to set a historic record — including in some critical battleground states.
"Early-voting counts suggest a record level of civic participation before Election Day. The tens of millions of ballots already cast show highly enthusiastic voters are making sure their votes are counted amid a pandemic," said the report.
15.8 million people in battleground states have already voted, and in some states, like Michigan and Wisconsin, more people have voted early so far than did in the entire early voting period of 2016. In North Carolina, meanwhile, 2 million ballots have been cast — more than double the same amount at this point in 2016.