SAN ANTONIO — Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, rallied Democrats in San Antonio Friday for Jessica Cisneros, who is running for Congress.
Sanders spoke at Second Baptist Church, ahead of the Tuesday runoff election between Cisneros and Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-TX.
"What we need to see in Washington now are members of Congress who have the guts to stand up and fight for working people and take on powerful special interests," Sanders said in an exclusive interview with KENS 5.
Sanders adhered to his usual, progressive message. The east-side crowd cheered loudest, though, when Sanders told them Cisneros would fight to secure the right to an abortion.
"If you believe, as the vast majority of American people do, that it is women who should control their bodies and not the government, then this election is very important," Sanders told KENS 5.
Cuellar contends his anti-abortion stances fall in line with his district's views. He is considered the only anti-abortion Democrat left in the House, though he says rape and incest victims should be allowed to terminate their pregnancies.
Cisneros argues the majority of voters who cast ballots in the March primary picked someone other than Cuellar, the only anti-abortion Democrat on the ticket.
"A lot of people make assumptions about what's good for us," she said in an interview. "That's kind of why we're in this race: We want to speak out for us."
Sanders would not answer questions about Title 42. A federal judge effectively extended the rule barring some migrants from seeking asylum in the United States.
Cisneros didn't take a stance, instead touting her history as an immigration attorney. She said it's important for voters to send people from border towns to Congress to handle border issues.
Cisneros says an endorsement from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, helped her get into the May 24 runoff against nine-term Congressman Henry Cuellar.
Watch KENS5 5's exclusive interview with Sanders and Cisneros below:
Cuellar has the support of Democratic leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, and Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-SC, who campaigned here for him. Cuellar he says the policies of Rep. Ocasio-Cortez don't represent his district which reaches from east San Antonio to Laredo and further south along the border.
"If you look at the progressives, even my opponent, I don't think Hispanics support defund the police. You know, Hispanics generally are conservative in nature and to come in with this far left type of progressive ideas, this is not what South Texas is looking for," said Cuellar.
The redrawn congressional election maps make most districts less competitive in the general election. Political analysts say that means we'll see more candidates from the far left and far right in the primaries and a shift from moderate to progressive here in Texas.