AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education has endorsed some incumbents and some challengers in U.S. House and State House primary elections based in South Texas.

And in the case of state Senate District 27, it has decided not to make an endorsement at all. The Democratic Party primary election for SD 27 sees Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, a longtime incumbent, being challenged by Ruben Cortez, Jr., and Sara Stapleton-Barrera. The winner will have a Republican challenger in the general election.

In the Democratic Party primary election for Congressional District 28, Texas AFL-CIO COPE has endorsed the challenger Jessica Cisneros, rather than incumbent U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo.

“The 240,000 members of the Texas AFL-CIO stated that we are going to stand proudly with Jessica Cisneros in her race for Congress,” Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy said, who made a video with Cisneros to announce the endorsement.

“This district needs someone who is going to stand up for working people, stand up for poor people, and stand up for justice,” Levy added.

Cisneros said she was thrilled to receive the endorsement. “Since day one, we’ve been running a campaign by and for the people of South Texas. Today, I’m incredibly proud to share that we’ve earned the endorsement of Texas AFL-CIO’s 240,000 members — who know I’ll be a true champion for working people in Washington,” Cisneros said.

The Rio Grande Valley’s other two members of Congress have won the endorsement of Texas AFL-CIO COPE. They are Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, in CD 34, and Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen, in CD 15. They will both have Republican opponents in the general election.

In the contested primary races for Texas House seats based in the Valley, Texas AFL-CIO COPE has endorsed the incumbents in districts 36, 38, and 41. The respective incumbents are Sergio Muñoz, D-Mission, Eddie Lucio, III, D-Harlingen, and R.D. ‘Bobby’ Guerra, D-McAllen. Muñoz is being challenged by Abraham Padron, Lucio by Erin Gomez, and Guerra by Richard Gonzalez. Reps. Lucio and Guerra will face Republican opponents in the general election.

However, in Texas House District 37, the AFL-CIO has gone for the challenger. The incumbent is Alex Dominguez, D-Brownsville. The challenger is Amber Medina.

State Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City, does not have a primary election challenger in HD 35 but will race a Republican opponent in the general election. Texas AFL-CIO COPE has endorsed Guillen.

State Reps. Oscar Longoria, D-La Joya, Armando Martinez, D-Weslaco, and Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, do not have primary or general election opponents.

State Sens. Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen, in SD 20, and Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, in SD 21, do not have Democratic Party primary challengers but will have Republican opponents in the general election. Texas AFL-CIO COPE have endorsed the incumbents.

Texas AFL-CIO COPE usually endorses Democrats. President Levy and Secretary-Treasurer Montserrat Garibay issued this statement:

“The Texas AFL-CIO COPE (Committee on Political Education) Convention culminates two months of conscientious work by local unions across the state who consider candidates’ records, platforms and ability to deliver on fair shot issues for working families.

“Under labor’s rules, the local bodies closest to legislative candidates get to determine endorsement positions, all of which were adopted. COPE considered local recommendations and made final determinations in statewide and congressional races.

“We want to say something about the U.S. Senate race, in which COPE was unable to arrive at the required two-thirds consensus to issue an endorsement. Six candidates — Chris Bell, Amanda Edwards, MJ Hegar, Sema Hernandez, Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez and Royce West — participated in a highly informative debate at our Convention. Delegates listened intently for 90 minutes and the well-deserved loudest applause was for the entire group, each of whom presented an alternative vision for working families in Texas. We see that vision as our state’s future, and the ability of several candidates to draw support as a sign of group strength among the candidates.

“Here’s what happens next. Labor in Texas, working in coalition with progressive allies, is going to run the biggest, broadest, boldest campaign that Texas has seen in generations. We believe the working families of the Texas AFL-CIO, our allies, our friends and anyone else we can persuade will turn out in large numbers to continue what we started in 2018 and change Texas for the better. If we change Texas, we will change the United States, and if we change the United States, we will change the world.”

Texas AFL-CIO COPE can take action as the election year progresses pending results in primary and runoff elections or other relevant developments. In a small number of unlisted districts in which no action was taken, candidates were unable to attend local interviews in January and agreed to be considered for endorsement at a later date.

The Texas AFL-CIO is a state labor federation that includes 240,000 affiliated union members who advocate for working families in Texas.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy and Congressional District 28 challenger Jessica Cisneros.