- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia are not up for reelection this year, but their political brands are getting dragged through the mud in a Democratic primary race in South Texas.

That’s where Jessica Cisneros is warning that Rep. Henry Cuellar is cast from the same mold as two moderate senators and is working to block the far left’s big-government wish lists.

“I’m the candidate for Congress who’s running to defeat the Kyrsten Sinema of Texas — Henry Cuellar,” Jessica Cisneros said Tuesday in a fundraising email. 

Ms. Cisneros said Mr. Cuellar “has aligned himself with the likes of Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin to obstruct President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda and put corporations before the people.”

The Cisneros fundraising email features a snapshot of Mr. Cuellar and Ms. Sinema embracing outside of the White House.

Ms. Sinema and Mr. Manchin have faced withering criticism from Democrats and liberal activists over their refusal to fall in lockstep with Mr. Biden’s initiatives — namely, his $1.75 trillion Build Back Better social spending plan and his push to overhaul election laws.

SEE ALSO: Dems lob racially charged attacks at party members who refuse to nuke Senate filibuster

Mr. Cuellar, meanwhile, voted for both initiatives, which have been bottled up in the Senate, where they are opposed by Ms. Sinema, Mr. Manchin and every Republican.

Ms. Cisneros said in her fundraising pitch that Mr. Cuellar is attempting to “to manipulate people into believing that he actually supports passing” the Build Back Better plan and that he is working “behind closed doors” to thwart progressive priorities.

It underscores how the legislative failures are infuriating liberal activists and how the tug of war pitting the moderate lawmakers against the growing far-left forces in the Democratic Party is going to be put to the test in the 2022 midterm elections. 

Ms. Cisneros said her campaign is “about sending a representative to Congress who won’t align themselves with obstructionist Democrats like Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, and who will fight hard for working people, immigrants, and for our neighbors in South Texas who have been ignored, neglected, and disenfranchised.”

Mr. Cuellar, who has served since 2005, survived a primary challenge from Ms. Cisneros in 2020, defeating her by more than 3 percentage points. 

Ms. Cisneros, an immigration attorney, previously served as an intern for Mr. Cuellar. She has the support of Sen. Elizabeth Warren as well as the Justice Democrats, the group that helped fuel the rise of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other far-left lawmakers.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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