Conservatives At The DCCC Abandoned The Race
Bernie was in Texas over the weekend trying to inspire his followers to get out and vote. He campaigned specifically for two progressives, Greg Casar, who is guaranteed a win in Austin and Michelle Vallejo who is in a bitter fight against a Trumpist sociopath in a Rio Grande Valley open seat (TX-15). FiveThirtyEight forecasts Casar winning against Republican Dan McQueen 69.0% to 31.0%. TX-35 isn’t really a competitive seat; the PVI is D+21 and the partisan lean is D+38.
The TX-15 race is much closer. The PVI is R+1. In terms of partisan lean, the old TX-15 was D+2 but the new district is even— no lean one way or the other. As of today, Vallejo is ahead by 0.7%— 48.8% to 48.1% against MAGA candidate Monica De La Cruz.
I’ve been clear for weeks that last minute money is best spent on candidates in close races like this. You can contribute to Vallejo’s campaign here on the Take Back Texas page or, if you’d prefer, here at the Progressive Women page. This will be money well-spent.
This morning, Vallejo told her followers that “People are rallying behind our movement because they know it’s going to take all of us uniting together to fight for a better future for South Texas in the face of alt-right, MAGA extremism. Because while we’re building our coalition of endorsers, Monica De La Cruz has been building hers too. Monica’s endorses include the likes of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Kevin McCarthy, and scores of other groups and candidates who are overwhelmingly anti-abortion and anti-democracy.”
Her coalition doesn’t include the DCCC. Anti-progressive fanatics Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Mark Mellman made sure of that. Although Kevin McCarthy has poured $944,207 into smearing Vallejo and the NRCC has spent $1,523,349 bolstering De La Cruz (on top of Mellman’s DMFI spending $492,042 against Vallejo), the DCCC has spent a whopping $95 to support her, while Pelosi’s SuperPAChas spent just $19,995 on her behalf. If the Democrats lose the House by one seat, we’ll know who to blame.
But her coalition does include our old pal, Mike Siegel, who is co-chair of Ground Game Texas. This morning he told us that she “is truly the candidate of the pueblo in the Rio Grande Valley. She was recruited to run by activists at La Union del Pueblo Frontero, an organization co-founded by Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez, and that represents farmworkers and the immigrant community in South Texas. She herself has been the operator of her family's flea market, or pulga, in Alton, right in the heart of Hidalgo County. She represents the people— and she's also fighting on the issues that matter most. The reason Bernie Sanders came to McAllen to rally for Michelle is because she's fighting for the people. Michelle is a fierce advocate for Medicare for All in a region where many people lack the most basic health resources. She's demanding at least $15 an hour for a living wage, and good-paying union jobs. And she's promoting a positive vision for her community that directly contrasts with the hateful, anti-immigrant, pro-Trump message of her opponent Monica de La Cruz. I continue to be amazed how few people are paying attention to the Texas 15th. This is the congressional seat the Republicans focused their gerrymandering on, to shave off one more GOP rep from Texas. As Bernie said, this race could determine who the next Speaker of the House is. I hope progressives everywhere will support Michelle in this crucial final stage.”
Texas Tribune ace reporter Patrick Svitek covered Bernie’s trip down to Texas. He quoted Bernie in McAllen: “The vote right here in this district could determine which party controls the U.S. House of Representatives, and I think the choice is clear. The choice is whether we give more tax breaks to billionaires and cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education and other needed programs— or whether we stand up for the working class of this country. Michelle Vallejo is on the right side.”
Republicans are targeting the 15th District and two others in South Texas, hoping to capitalize on President Joe Biden’s underperformance there in 2020 and make new inroads with Hispanic voters. Vallejo narrowly defeated a more moderate Democrat in the primary runoff and now faces Republican Monica De La Cruz, who ran a surprisingly close race in the 15th District in 2020, prior to redistricting.
Sanders’ visit to Texas came about halfway through the early voting period— and it came eight days after former President Donald Trump made his own visit to South Texas, hoping to juice turnout for the congressional races. De La Cruz, who has Trump’s endorsement, did not attend the rally, instead addressing the crowd through a brief video message.
Some prominent in-state Democrats have been disappointed with national outside groups who have not done any serious TV spending in the 15th District, instead prioritizing the two other South Texas districts. That has left Vallejo to run as a decisive underdog in a district that Republicans already redrew to be more favorable to them.
“No matter what people outside of South Texas want to think or claim that we don’t have this win,” Vallejo said at the rally, “I know that we are on our path to victory, and we’re gonna win this race on Nov. 8.”
In her speech, Vallejo continued to embrace Sanders’ signature proposal— the single-payer health care model known as Medicare for All— saying she is “running to fight for Medicare for All because our families should not be forced to go to Mexico to get the medical care they deserve.” And Vallejo knocked De La Cruz as an “extremist,” who, among other things, wants to ban abortion without exceptions for rape or incest. De La Cruz has said she supports abortion “only to save the life of the mother.”