In an email Thursday morning Justice Democrats, the progressive grassroots organization credited with Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s (D., N.Y.) victory, endorsed a primary challenger to Texas congressman Henry Cuellar.
With its first endorsement of the 2020 cycle, the group sent out an email announcing its support of Jessica Cisneros, an immigration lawyer, in her bid to unseat the seven-term Democratic congressman from south Texas.
"Cuellar’s existence as a Representative of the United States of America is a slap in the face to the Democratic Party, our voters, and progressive values," Justice Democrats Executive Director Alexandra Rojas said in the Thursday morning endorsement email.
The group’s endorsement dubbed Cuellar "Trump’s favorite Democrat," based on the congressman’s voting record in favor of tighter immigration laws and denying public funding of abortions.
Cisneros took issue with Cuellar’s ‘A’ rating from the NRA in her announcement video.
With the endorsement, Cisneros has pledged to support progressive policies such as Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and tuition-free public college. She has opted not to receive contributions from corporate political action committees.
We’re proud to announce our first new candidate of 2020: @JCisnerosTX!
Jessica represents the voices we desperately need in Congress right now, someone dedicating her life to protect families, not big corporate donors.pic.twitter.com/LjVJzYXtRr
— Justice Democrats (@justicedems) June 13, 2019
"Our grassroots progressive movement has an opportunity to build a more accountable Democratic Party by unseating one of the worst amid our ranks and ushering in a new generation of leaders," Rojas added in a statement upon the endorsement.
Justice Democrats was formed by veterans of Senator Bernie Sanders’s (I., Vt.) 2016 presidential campaign to endorse and assist candidates who pledge to support a litany of progressive policies.
The group gained national media coverage after its involvement in Ocasio-Cortez’s insurgent primary victory against longtime incumbent congressman Joe Crowley (D., N.Y.). It went on to assist Ayanna Pressley (D., Mass.) with her successful primary challenge to a Democratic incumbent.
Cuellar represents Texas’s 28th Congressional District and has not faced a serious primary challenge since he was first elected in 2004.