Progressive South Texas Candidate Admits to Misleading Voters About Radical Views

Michelle Vallejo says she's still a progressive, she just doesn't want voters to know

August 22, 2022

South Texas Democrat Michelle Vallejo said she's misleading voters about the radical nature of her policy positions after a Washington Free Beacon report revealed the congressional hopeful deleted her progressive platform from her campaign site.

After winning a bitter primary fight as an unabashed liberal, Vallejo scrubbed from her campaign site all evidence of her support for a slew of progressive policies—including Medicare for All, student debt cancellation, and a federal jobs guarantee—the Free Beacon reported Wednesday. Just days later, Vallejo said she still supports those policies, she just doesn't want voters to know: Her campaign told the Wall Street Journal Vallejo continues to back student loan forgiveness and Medicare for All but changed her site to "better reflect how the candidate is talking to voters."

Vallejo's decision to hide her liberal policy positions on the campaign trail comes as many Hispanic voters in South Texas shift to the right, a trend that jeopardizes Democrats' longtime dominance in the Rio Grande Valley. In June, for example, Republicans flipped a majority-Hispanic seat in the region for the first time in more than a century—a result Democrats are hoping to prevent in Vallejo's 15th Congressional District, which has remained blue since its creation in 1903.

Vallejo's far-left past, however, complicates that effort. In May, Vallejo defeated fellow Democrat Ruben Ramirez in a tight primary contest that saw her express support for a "single-payer universal healthcare system," a Green New Deal-esque "federal jobs guarantee" that would cost up to $44.6 trillion, and the cancellation of "all student loan debt."

Just a few months later, Vallejo replaced all mentions of those policies with watered down, center-left alternatives. She also removed a border policy portion that attacked America's "racist criminal legal system," opting to replace it with a call to invest in "border infrastructure" and "border security."

But the attempt to rebrand as a moderate won't be easy, particularly as Vallejo admits she still supports the same progressive positions she now refuses to discuss on the campaign trail. Vallejo's Republican opponent, Monica De La Cruz, has hammered Vallejo for the flip-flop, saying the Democrat "knows how out of touch her progressive beliefs are in our community." The National Republican Congressional Committee, meanwhile, used Vallejo's policy U-turn to argue the Democrat "is willing to say and do anything to get elected—even lie to voters."

Vallejo did not return a request for comment. Her race against De La Cruz comes two years after the Republican narrowly lost to incumbent Rep. Vicente González (D., Texas), who subsequently opted to vacate the 15th district for a nearby seat that is more solidly blue. De La Cruz, a small business owner and self-described "woman of strong faith," has raised $2.9 million to Vallejo's $700,000.