It's on: Chamber of Commerce versus The Sunrise Movement in Texas

The Sunrise Movement is going all-in on 2020 congressional elections and three congressional races in Texas are squarely in its sights. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in an unprecedented move, is taking on the climate alarmists.


Super Tuesday is right around the corner and early voting begins today in Texas. The Sunrise Movement and their “army of young people” who fight climate change is shifting its focus from the presidential race to three congressional primaries in Texas on March 3. The top target is Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat, who they label as “Big Oil’s favorite Democrat”. The hope is that a victory in Texas, the epicenter of the oil and gas industry, will build momentum for the Green New Deal. The group has been promoting that fairy tale initiative for over two years.

The Sunrise Movement supports Bernie Sanders. They saw some success in the early primary and caucuses, thanks to its organized efforts.

Sunrise Movement, the youth campaign behind the Green New Deal, called 25,000 Iowans and persuaded 7,000 to sign pledges to vote for the candidate who advocated the most ambitious plan for rapidly lowering planet-heating emissions along with guaranteeing federal jobs to displaced workers.

In New Hampshire, the group called 33,000 voters and racked up 12,000 pledges that it claimed delivered a win for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

The movement has not seen much in the way of success on the national level as they hold sit-ins and protests on Capitol Hill, though – even Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez admits that the Green New Deal is not a real piece of legislation but a blueprint, an exercise in putting aspirations on paper. The Sunrise Movement has over 350 local chapters across the country. The plan is to get all of them on board to make phone calls into Cuellar’s district in support of Jessica Cisneros, his far-left challenger. Also on the agenda is phone calls in support of Heidi Sloan, a democratic socialist running on the Green New Deal who is challenging Rep. Roger Williams, a Republican. Mike Siegel has their support in his primary race against Rep. Michael McCaul.


Cuellar’s district is the 28th Congressional District which stretches southwest from San Antonio to the Mexican border. He has represented the district since 2005. His reputation is one of a moderate Democrat who works with Republicans – the very kind of Democrat that the AOC wing of socialists in Congress now wants to kick to the curb and replace with a new wave of far-left politicians. You may remember that AOC herself was supported by Justice Democrats and unseated a longtime Democrat, a key member of Speaker Pelosi’s leadership team, Rep. Joe Crowley. Cuellar has worked closely with Republicans in Texas and once served as former Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s secretary of state. Cuellar often votes with Republicans for President Trump’s agenda and business-friendly groups are coming to his rescue.

Cuellar has voted in line with President Donald Trump’s policy positions nearly 45% of the time since 2017, and 69% during the administration’s first two years, according to a FiveThirtyEight tally. The League of Conservation Voters gave Cuellar a 42% cumulative score on its ranking of lawmakers’ pro-environmental votes.

Cuellar’s allies are sending in cavalry of their own. Oil and gas political action committees spent $116,000 on his campaign since 2019, filings collected by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics show. Nine electric utilities, most of whose business depends on fossil fuels, pitched in another $28,500.


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is jumping in, too. Liberal publications like HuffPo are snarky about that development. The left likes to claim that the Chamber of Commerce “funds climate misinformation campaigns”.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which does not disclose its donors but spent years funding climate misinformation campaigns, is already airing a 30-second ad in Spanish touting Cuellar’s record of passing the new U.S.-Mexico-China trade agreement and boosting auto manufacturing in the state. The group told the Federal Election Commission in a filing that it planned to spend $200,000 on TV ads mentioning Cuellar. A top U.S. Chamber of Commerce official publicly vowed to lock horns with Justice Democrats, the progressive group behind the campaign of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), which has backed Cisneros.

“This is a first for us, and we’re putting our money where our mouth is,” Scott Reed, the U.S. Chamber’s senior political strategist, told The Texas Tribune this month. “It’s game on, Justice Democrats.”

Cueller’s district leans Democrat by 9 points according to the Cook Political Report. He is a prime target because he is a business-friendly Democrat, not a Green New Deal socialist ready for The Revolution. Cuellar’s spokesman in Texas is brushing off The Sunrise Movement’s declaration of war. Both Elizabeth Warren and Julian Castro have endorsed Cueller’s main opponent, Jessica Cisneros. She is a 26-year-old human rights lawyer.


But Colin Strother, a Cuellar spokesman, said he’d never even heard of what he called “that Sunshine thing.”

“If they have a footprint in this district, it must be the size of a small rabbit,” he said. He accused Cisneros’s campaign of being a social media Potemkin village, where the nationwide eyeballs on the candidate’s Instagram and Facebook posts don’t match the general disinterest on the ground in the district.

“Our opponent’s entire campaign has been doing it for the ’Gram,” he said. “None of it’s been real, but they’ve made it look real.”

Strother also pointed out that Julian Castro is historically wrong in his choice of candidate endorsements – his preferred candidates lose.

It will be a surprise if Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats are successful in the other two races and I hold out hope that Cuellar will defeat the far-left in his district race. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce plans to spend $200,000 to help Cuellar. Their activity in a primary race is unprecedented, which shows the importance this race may have.

The Sunrise Movement is going on to other states after Texas. Heads up, Illinois and Ohio.

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Jazz Shaw 8:01 PM on October 02, 2023