Cuellar is a big figure in Texas, and in DC. He’s one of the most senior members of the Texas delegation, now in his 17th year in Congress. He has a seat on the powerful House Appropriations Committee and serves as a chief deputy whip, 게다가.
Wermund: The investigation Cuellar is tied up in is reportedly connected to a wide-ranging federal probe relating to Azerbaijan, a former Soviet state in eastern Europe, and several US businessmen.
Few details are known about the ongoing FBI investigation, but Cuellar has long ties to Kemal Oksuz, a former Houston-based businessman who was convicted of lying to Congress about Azerbaijan’s role in funding a 2013 trip to the Eastern European nation for 10 국회의원 (Cuellar was not one of them).
Cillizza: What has Cuellar said about all of this? Or is he not talking?
Wermund: Cuellar has mostly been quiet since the FBI searches last Wednesday. His office issued a statement that night saying he was fully cooperating with the investigation. They have not responded to other requests since.
Cuellar made his first public appearance since the searches on Friday. He appeared via Zoom to accept an award from Democrats for Life of America. He did not talk about the FBI case during the appearance.
Cillizza: What impact — 만약에 어떠한 — has this controversy had on Cuellar’s reelection prospects this November?
Wermund: The FBI investigation comes just as Cuellar’s reelection campaign was heating up, with early voting set to start in just a few weeks in a Democratic primary rematch with Jessica Cisneros, a progressive immigration attorney who came within 3 percentage points of unseating Cuellar in 2020. Tannya Benavides, a former teacher and political organizer based in Laredo, has joined this year’s primary race, 게다가, inspired in part by the success Cisneros saw in 2020.
Cisneros has so far opted to not use the FBI investigation against Cuellar, only issuing a statement last week that she is watching it closely. Her campaign made a bigger deal about Cuellar appearing at [an] anti-abortion rally on Friday.
Benavides issued a similar statement last week, 속담, “We have an opportunity with this election to start a new chapter for South Texas.”
, 그 동안에, launched a new TV ad over the weekend depicting Cuellar’s roots as one of eight children working alongside their parents in ‘las piscas
,’ or the fields
Cillizza: Finish this sentence: “1 월 2023, the member of Congress representing Laredo will be ____________.” 지금, 설명.
Wermund: 이 지점에서, the March 1 primary is the race to watch.
The district has long been solidly blue — Cuellar won the 2020 general election by nearly 20 포인트들 — and it was just redrawn to be a bit more Democratic.
That said, Cuellar — one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress — has argued that it’s actually more of a swing district and has stayed blue because of his moderate politics.
The GOP is also set to compete there in a way they haven’t in the past after Republicans made some surprising gains in South Texas during the 2020 선거. Seven Republicans are vying to take on Cuellar in the Republican primary, and the National Republican Congressional Committee has targeted him.