McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — Former President Bill Clinton plans to attend two last-minute get-out-the-vote rallies Monday to help South Texas Democrats who are in tight congressional races against Republicans who are nationally backed.
Clinton will attend a rally starting at 11 a.m. CST Monday in Laredo, Texas, to help get longtime U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar re-elected. The event will be held at the Laredo Police Association Unity Hall, 6426 Polaris Dr.
The 42nd U.S. president then is scheduled to stump for Democratic hopeful Michelle Vallejo at 3:30 p.m. CST at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance in Edinburg, Texas, the Texas Democratic Party said Sunday.
Cuellar is vying for his 10th term in Congress to represent Texas’ 28th Congressional District. He is being challenged by GOP political newcomer Cassy Garcia, a former staffer for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.
Cuellar worked as a Texas campaign manager for Clinton in the early 1990s, and he told Border Report that he helped to bring Clinton to South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley.
In an audio telephone recording that was being sent to voters, Clinton called Cuellar his “friend” and urged voters to cast their ballots on Tuesday for Cuellar.
“Join me in supporting our friend Congressman Henry Cuellar for re-election. Our country is at a crossroads and at this pivotal time we need true proven leadership we can count on to support and defend American democracy,” Clinton says in the recording that Cuellar sent to Border Report.
“Congressman Cuellar has always been a fighter for South Texas families. He’s been a champion for education, bringing back millions to South Texas schools so that every child has a shot at the American dream — just like he did. He fought to lower healthcare costs because no one in South Texas should have to choose between refilling a prescription and putting food on the table. That’s why I’m supporting my friend Henry and hope you will too,” Clinton says.
Vallejo on Sunday tweeted that it is her “honor to be hosting President @BillClinton in #TX15 for a special GOTV rally.”
Vallejo’s race against Republican Monica De La Cruz for the open seat for Texas’ 15th Congressional District appears to be deadlocked — a FiveThirtyEight poll analysis has the race practically even, while Politico has the District leaning slightly in Republicans’ favor due to redistricting.
De La Cruz has raised twice as much in campaign funding than Vallejo and De La Cruz has been campaigning since losing to U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas, by fewer than 7,000 votes in 2020. Experts say she has momentum in this newly drawn district that favors Republicans.
The Republican-led Texas Legislature restructured Texas’ Congressional District 15, which resulted in Gonzalez’s home in McAllen now being part of Texas’ 34th Congressional District, where he is running to stay in Congress.
Gonzalez is challenging current U.S. Rep. Mayra Flores, R-Texas, who won the seat in a special election in June.
Democrats are hoping that a last-minute push by such a famous Democrat as Clinton could help Democrats keep these seats in a region that has typically been Democratic, but appears to be leaning Republican.
Early voting ended on Friday and saw lackluster ballots cast — less than 25% in most counties of the Rio Grande Valley, according to the Texas Secretary of State’s office.
Natasha Altema McNeely, an associate political science professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley told Border Report that Clinton’s visit is definitely a boost.
“For Cuellar, it’s a nice touch having Clinton stump on his behalf in addition to Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi coming to the Valley to stump on his behalf earlier this election season,” McNeely said.
Vallejo is a progressive who supports health care for all and is backed by Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont. McNeely said she thinks Clinton’s attendance at a rally for her signals more unity by Democrats to get behind Vallejo’s campaign.
“Maybe it’s a sign that national Democratic leaders are willing to set aside ideological differences in order to support Vallejo,” McNeely said.
Election Day is Tuesday.
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at Ssanchez@borderreport.com