Cisneros, who is backed by progressives like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is waging a rematch against Cuellar, a Democrat who has opposed abortion rights, after she fell narrowly short in the 2020 primary runoff. But, as Edgar Sandoval reported, conservative Democrats might have more luck in some parts of South Texas.
When the F.B.I. raided Cuellar’s home and campaign office earlier this year, however, the political calculus shifted. The target of the F.B.I. investigation remains unclear, and national Republican groups are watching to see whether there’s a window for whoever emerges from the G.O.P. primary.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that Cisneros would be more likely to hold the seat for Democrats than Cuellar. If national abortion rights organizations get involved in the race, they could provoke Republicans to play more aggressively in the district.
“It doesn’t help in trying to actually change the political dynamic in Texas, when you have national organizations come in, brand themselves as liberal, wave blue flags, and say we’re going to turn stuff blue and flip it,” said Matt Angle, the founder of the Lone Star Project, which provides opposition research and other support to Democratic candidates in Texas.
There’s a third Democrat on the ballot for the race, so it’s possible that neither Cuellar nor Cisneros clears Tuesday’s primary. If the race goes to a primary runoff, it would leave another few months for the Cisneros-Cuellar primary to unfold — and more time to see what happens with the F.B.I. investigation.
The lone competitive House seat
There’s only one district that’s built to be truly competitive in 2022. But we probably won’t know who’s running in it until the May runoff.
The incumbent in the 15th Congressional District in South Texas would have been Representative Vicente Gonzalez, a Democrat. However, he instead chose to run in a seat that was drawn to be slightly safer for Democrats after redistricting, leaving his current seat open.