- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Far-left activists moved a step closer to sending the “Squad” some new members following Texas’ congressional primary elections.

Rep. Henry Cuellar, a longtime incumbent and one of the most conservative House Democrats, is headed for a runoff race in the 28th Congressional District in southwest Texas against Jessica Cisneros, an immigration rights advocate.

Greg Casar, meanwhile, cruised to victory in the state’s 35th Congressional District that stretches from Austin to San Antonio. Mr. Casar, an Austin City Council member, is well-positioned to win the seat in the general election this fall.

“It’s official: Greg Casar won his Texas primary for the U.S. House and Jessica Cisneros is headed to a runoff election in TX-28 against Henry Cuellar!” the far-left Justice Democrats said in an email blast Wednesday morning. “We now have another Justice Democrat in a blue district primed to join the Squad in Congress, and more work to do to help Jessica win her primary runoff in May.”

The Squad is composed of six young, far-left Democrats. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts formed the group following the 2018 election.

Reps. Jamaal Bowman of New York and Cori Bush of Missouri joined them after the 2020 election, giving them a bigger voting bloc on Capitol Hill.

The Squad is part of a concerted effort to push the Democratic Party further to the left with policy ideas that include “Medicare for All,” the Green New Deal, higher taxes on wealthy people and making corporations pay for a new host of social welfare benefits.

Ms. Cuellar beat back a challenge from Ms. Cisneros in 2020 but failed to do the same Tuesday after getting billed as a corporate sellout and having the FBI raid his home and campaign office in January. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Ms. Cisneros has the backing of various progressive groups and leaders including Sens. Bernard Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Ms. Ocasio-Cortez.

“This fight was about South Texans proving that our dreams could take on their corporate money and that a daughter of immigrants could bring working-class leadership back to the community that raised her,” Ms. Cisneros said in a statement after pushing Mr. Cuellar into a May 24 runoff. “Today, we proved just how powerful our movement is and are ready to keep fighting for the future we deserve.

“Together, we will take control back from Big Oil, private prisons, and Wall Street, and put it back where it belongs: with the people,” she said.

Despite the grim outlook for Democrats in this year’s midterms, the party’s progressive wing views the November election as another opportunity to send reinforcements to Washington by winning seats in deep blue congressional districts.

“Working Texans deserve a progressive champion who will fight and deliver for Medicare For All, good jobs, reproductive rights, a functional electric grid, and a better Texas,” Democracy for America tweeted. “With his victory tonight, @GregCasar is one step closer to doing just that!”

Republicans, meanwhile, welcomed the leftward drift of the Democratic Party, saying it shows how out of touch they are with most voters.

Jasmine Crockett also is headed to a runoff race in the 30th Congressional District, which includes parts of Dallas.

Ms. Crockett has the support of numerous far-left groups, including the Working Families Party, Our Revolution and Democracy for America.

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

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