Three candidates are running in the Democratic primary election for Texas’ 28th Congressional District on March 1, 2022. The candidates running in the primary are incumbent Henry Cuellar, Tannya Benavides, and Jessica Cisneros.
In the 2020 Democratic primary, Cuellar defeated Cisneros 51.8% to 48.2%. In that primary, Cisneros had endorsements from Justice Democrats, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Cuellar had endorsements from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
In this year’s race, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus endorsed Cuellar. Senator Elizabeth Warren, Reps. Jamaal Bowman, Ocasio-Cortez, and Ayanna Pressley, and Justice Democrats endorsed Cisneros. The San Antonio Express-News Editorial Board, which endorsed Cuellar in the 2020 primary, endorsed Cisneros in the 2022 primary.
Cuellar, who first joined Congress in 2005, is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition. According to Bloomberg, he was the only Democrat in the U.S. House opposed to legalizing abortion as of December 2021. Cuellar’s campaign has highlighted his membership on the House Appropriations Committee and said that he has used that position to bring funding to the district for public education, healthcare services, small businesses, veteran’s programs, and immigration services.
Cisneros is an immigration attorney who is running to Cuellar’s left. Cisneros supports Medicare For All, access to reproductive planning and contraception, a pathway to citizenship for immigrants, and the For The People Act as key policy goals. Cisneros has criticized Cuellar for his abortion stance, his votes on federal immigration proposals, and his response to the coronavirus pandemic, citing the latter as a key reason she ran again.
Benavides is a former educator and community organizer who is also running to Cuellar’s left. Benavides’ campaign has focused on an increased minimum wage, accessible healthcare, educational equity, and passing the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act). Comparing herself to Cuellar, Benavides said she does not support “bipartisanship for the sake of bipartisanship” and that she would work to ensure the best interests of her constituents were met.