Texas race tests abortion and Democrat voter resonance.

In 2001, Dr. When Hector Gonzalez arrived in Laredo, Texas, the last abortion clinic had already closed. He spent the next 20 years experiencing first-hand the community along the Mexican border, which was predominantly Hispanic and Catholic.

“It was clearly ‘abortion ban’,” said Gonzalez, the city’s former head of public health.

That culture helped protect Henry Cuellar, a ninth-term member of the House of Representatives, one of the last anti-abortion Democrats in the House. But he faces the toughest challenge of his career on Tuesday in a runoff with 28-year-old immigration attorney Jessica Cisneros who supports abortion.

With the US Supreme Court ruling this summer that could potentially overturn abortion rights, the runoff is closely watching for clues as to whether the issue will revitalize Democratic voters. Money poured out by outside groups on the ground and on TV in South Texas is an important indicator of competition, and abortion rights advocates are trying to lower expectations of a broader impact.

Laphonza Butler, president of Emily’s List, which supports women who support abortion rights and support Cisneros, said, “National trends are not decided by one election and not by one election.”

Nevertheless, this election will provide insight into the direction of the Democratic Party. The Progressives have had several notable victories so far this pre-season. In last week’s Senate primary in Pennsylvania, he defeated a moderate candidate and potentially overpowered an incumbent Oregon congressman who is still on the ballot.

Aspired to protect the incumbent, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has sided with Quella while reaffirming her firm support for the right to abortion. House of Representatives third-ranked Democrat Jim Clyburn said as he campaigned with Cuellar in Texas this month his top priority is to retain his party seats. He argued that Cisneros was in danger of losing to the Republicans.

But a draft court ruling leaked in April has already come to an end and has shaken up an increasingly costly competition. In the March primary, Cisneros defeated Cuellar by about 1,000 votes, running a runoff after neither candidate met the majority criterion. Cuellar was on the verge of losing a seat he had been there for 17 years.

But the runoff also marked the upswing that America’s abortion rights movement faced this fall, launching an all-out attack on opposition lawmakers. – Slanted area.

The results could expose the limits of abortion as an energizing issue for voters. National polls prior to the leaked draft showed high inflation and other concerns, including gun control, followed by abortion.

“People here are pretty liberal, but things get worse the further south you go from Texas,” said Martha Cerna, 76, a retired San Antonio teacher who supports abortion.

Cerna lives in Cuellar, more than two hours’ drive north of her hometown of Laredo. She showed up early in downtown San Antonio for her abortion rights march and shaded under the scorching South Texas sun in a plaza outside City Hall. .

Cisneros joined the march, but Cerna said the voters here were not in need of persuasion. “So she thinks it’s going to be her hard sell for her because there will be some Democrats who want to go with Cuellar,” she said.

Cisneros, who once interned for Cuellar but now has the support and agenda of the Democratic left, has been leaning towards contrasting abortions in the last few weeks.

The incident took place in one of the area’s rural counties when a grand jury in South Texas charged a woman with the murder of a self-aborted woman in April. The charge was promptly dropped when it caused public outrage, but Cisneros pointed out that it was a case of indictment for medical bills.

“When we take the time to talk about what it really means to be pro-choice for people, what it means to believe that governments should not make these types of private decisions and pursue abortion, people generally Realize that you agree. “It’s a choice,” he said in an interview.

Cuellar ignored the impact of the Supreme Court leak at this month’s San Antonio rally, saying that voters know his position. In Congress, his powerful allies defended support for Cuellar. He said the defeat would, in part, open the door for Republicans to overturn more conservative constituencies when it comes to gun rights and border security.

In Laredo, where Cuellar’s brother is the county sheriff, Gonzalez recalls having “a lot of fever” when his health department started offering birth control pills. He retired in 2019 and expressed disappointment that women seeking abortions would have to drive hours to the Rio Grande Valley. – which currently has the only clinic on the Texas-Mexico border – or San Antonio.

At a food truck outside San Antonio, 64-year-old Citi Ramos wept while taking a break from serving tacos and burgers to customers while explaining her stand against abortion. She called herself a Democrat and a strong Catholic, generally not involved in politics. But she said Cisneros’ position was a position she could not sit on.

“I’m urging everyone to vote,” she said. “It is a very important issue for me.”


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