SAN ANTONIO ( Associated Press) — Just a day after Democrats forcefully recommended protecting abortion rights, the leader of the U.S. House of Representatives in Texas to rally with one of the last anti-abortion Democrats in Congress, Rep. Henry Kueller was prepared to swoon.
Facing a May 24 primary runoff against progressive Jessica Cisneros, the 17-year-old incumbent is in her toughest reelection campaign. The vote comes at a strange time for Kueller, who finds himself with his party in a highly visible moment, when Democrats mostly unite in outrage over a leaked draft of US Supreme Court opinion. Which would reverse the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
Cisneros, an immigration lawyer who supports abortion rights, trailed Kueller by nearly 1,000 votes in MarchWhen no candidate reached the limit of majority to win outright.
Kueller’s incident in San Antonio on Wednesday with Representative Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, the third-ranking Democratic leader in the House, now threatens to cut short the party’s election year. promises to protect the constitutional right to abortion, which is on the verge of being abolished after nearly half a century. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has also previously reaffirmed her support for Kueller.
Cisneros called on House leaders to drop their support of Cuellar in the heavily Hispanic district, which runs to the US-Mexico border.
“The stakes are very high. They are absolutely high,” Sineros said in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday. “South Texans deserve a champion for their rights and freedoms.”
Cuellar reiterated his opposition to abortion in a statement Tuesday but said the leaked draft went too far and would divide the country.
“As a Catholic, I do not support abortion, however, we cannot have an outright ban,” Kueller wrote. Exceptions should be made in cases of rape, incest and threat to the life of the mother.
Kueller’s campaign announced a rally with Clyburn before Politico published the leaked draft. Monday late. It is one of Congressmen’s largest campaign events since FBI agents searched his home in January. Cuellar has denied wrongdoing, and his attorney said last month that federal officials told him that Cuellar is not the target of an investigation.
The Supreme Court opinion was drafted in February, and the language may change before the court issues its final decision. As written, this would give states the power to decide the legality of abortion. In Texas, this would mean an outright ban that would take effect almost immediately.
Kueller was the only House Democrat to vote against the Women’s Health Protection Act last year, which sought to increase access to abortion. It was just another example of how Kueller’s centrist record sometimes made him more aligned with Republicans, including his support for gun rights and his criticism of President Joe Biden’s handling of the limit.
Back in March, abortion in the state was largely out of the limelight, despite months of outcry by Democrats over Texas’s restrictive new ban on abortion after nearly six weeks of pregnancy. Entering the first round of voting between Cuellar and Cisneros.
Mini Timmaraju, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, thinks the leaked Supreme Court ruling could change that dynamic. He described the Cisneros race as important.
“We think it’s going to be very motivating,” she said. “People are very angry.”
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