BROWNSVILLE, Texas – State Sen. Eddie Lucio of Brownsville says if he lived in Congressman Henry Cuellar’s district he would vote for him.

Lucio appeared on a Ron Whitlock Reports show on Monday to endorse his good friend from Laredo. The two were desk mates when they served together in the Texas House of Representatives in the late 1980s.

Cuellar also appeared on the show via Zoom. Another guest of veteran broadcaster Ron Whitlock’s was Tony Knopp, political science professor emeritus at UT-Rio Grande Valley.

Cuellar is up for election today in the Democratic Party runoff election for Congressional District 28. His opponent is Laredo attorney Jessica Cisneros. Whitlock said he had reached out to the Cisneros camp for a response to the Lucio endorsement of Cuellar.

Kicking off the show, Whitlock explained he has endorsed Cuellar in previous elections and was doing so again. He said Cuellar was largely responsible for bringing in $17 million to dredge the ship channel at Port Mansfield, which is in Lucio’s district but not Cuellar’s. Whitlock said that initial investment will likely generate $250 million in infrastructure projects because the port will now be able to handle barge traffic. 

“Amazing” was the word Whitlock used to describe the fact that Cuellar secured the federal funding for Port Mansfield in just five weeks. Noting that Port Mansfield is located in the poorest county in Texas, Willacy, Whitlock said the investment would be “transformational.”

Lucio said Cuellar, the sole Texas Democrat on the House appropriations committee, has had “a stellar career.” Referring to the $17 million Cuellar brought to Port Mansfield, Lucio said: “I know that many hundreds of jobs, if not thousands of jobs will be created, in the near future, once we get that project complete.”

Lucio said seniority in the U.S. House counts for a lot. He said District 28 needs someone “who can work both sides of the aisle. Someone who is not a bomb thrower, for want of a better term. Henry Cuellar is a master at that.”

Lucio also noted Cuellar’s strong connections with Mexico.

Speaking to Cuellar via Zoom, Lucio said his contributions to South Texas have been “immeasurable.” He added: “I cannot think of anyone else who can match the way you approach things. I wish I lived in your district so I could vote for you.”

For his part, Cuellar said he was “just part of the team” when it came to bringing federal funding to Port Mansfield. He said he was sorry to be losing Hidalgo County, which he has been stripped of thanks to the Republican leadership in Austin altering the boundary lines of CD 28. 

“Eddie is a very dear friend of mine. You did a heck of a job as a state representative and a state senator,” Cuellar said, returning the compliments to Lucio. 

Cuellar noted that the last time he and Lucio were together was when they visited the Vatican to meet and pray with Pope Francis.

On international commerce, Cuellar said U.S. trade with Mexico is worth $1 million every minute. “Any great country has to have trade,” Cuellar said. 

Turning to the election, Whitlock asked Cuellar how things were going. “We feel very confident about this race,” Cuellar answered.

Asked by Whitlock how he was countering the national funding that was going into his opponent’s campaign coffers, Cuellar said that according to a website called, his opponent is getting 99 percent of her campaign funds from outside the district. 

Cuellar said he is pleased to have received the endorsements of 171 local officials, as well as U.S. House leaders such as Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and Jim Clyburn, and the leaders of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus.

Cuellar said it is wrong for a House member to vote 100 percent of the time for his or her party. He said the good of the country, the state and the district comes before the good of the party. “That is why I have been attacked. I am standing on my principles,” Cuellar added.

Political science professor Knopp spoke briefly on the show. He said Cuellar’s opponent would not be able to provide the funding Cuellar has delivered due to her lack of seniority.

“She would be in not position to,” Knopp said. “She would lack the seniority, lack the influence, lack the ability, lack the knowledge to be able to deliver the way he has. He is positioned to be able to continue to allocate funds into South Texas for economic development and his opponent would not be able to.”


Here is a podcast based upon the Ron Whitlock Reports show:


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