Republicans Aim for Upset Victory in TX-28

In an election year that has the potential to mirror the 2010 midterm GOP U.S. House landslide, Republicans in Texas are hoping to turn Texas’ 28th Congressional District in their favor.

Redistricting has made TX-28 a little bluer, but that hasn’t stopped the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) from targeting the Democrat incumbent for defeat.

Prior to redistricting, Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight gave the district a D+4 partisan rating. It now has a D+7. The Cook Political Report currently gives the race a “tossup” rating.

District 28 is currently represented by incumbent U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28), who has served in the U.S. House since 2005. Cuellar is in the middle of a tight race for re-nomination. He failed to achieve above the 50 percent mark in the March 1 Democrat primary and is facing attorney Jessica Cisneros in a May 24 run-off to determine the Democrat nominee.

The margin separating Cuellar from Cisneros in the March 1 Democrat primary was less than 800 votes. Cuellar received 48.4 percent of the vote while Cisneros received 46.9 percent. A third candidate received 2,289 votes in the primary, or 4.7 percent. That candidate is off the ballot for the runoff.

As of the February 9 pre-primary report, Cuellar had $1,271,400.67 on hand to spend in the runoff, while Cisneros had $409,828.37. Cisneros’ strong showing in the March 1 original primary could signal significant dissatisfaction in the local Democrat community with Cuellar. If she were to dethrone Cuellar as the Democrat nominee, that would significantly change the outlook for the race, making TX-28 an open seat.

Cuellar previously defeated Cisneros in the 2020 Democrat primary, 51.8 percent to 48.2 percent. Cisneros was backed in 2020, as she is now, by the far-left Justice Democrats, an organization that helped elect U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14).

German-owned Politico reported that Cuellar’s office was raided by the FBI in late February and that he proceeded to skip Laredo, Texas’ annual Washington’s Birthday parade for the first time in his congressional tenure. NRCC spokesman Torunn Sinclair said of the move, “Crooked Congressman Henry Cuellar is hiding from voters because he doesn’t want to answer questions about why the FBI raided his home and campaign office.”

Republicans do not currently have a nominee. Former deputy state director for U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, Cassy Garcia, and 2020 GOP nominee Sandra Whitten have qualified for the May 24 Republican runoff after a crowded March 1 primary.

Garcia has $101,462.90 on hand and Whitten’s February 9 report shows that she spent all her campaign money. Cuellar defeated Whitten in the 2020 general election in a landslide.

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Aaron Gulbransen is a reporter at The Texas Lone Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow Aaron on GETTR.
Photo “Henry Cuellar” by Eric Connolly. Photo “Jessica Cisneros” by Jessica Cisneros. Background Photo “U.S. Capitol” by 1778011.

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