Rosie Cuellar to run for open state House seat in district that includes Uvalde

Rosie Cuellar. (Courtesy Of Rosie Cuellar, Courtesy Of Rosie Cuellar)

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A member of one of South Texas’ most prominent political families is preparing to run for a battleground seat in the Texas House.

Rosie Cuellar confirmed to The Texas Tribune on Thursday she intends to run in the Democratic primary for House District 80. Cuellar is the former Webb County tax assessor-collector and sister of U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo.

“My life has been about community service and public service, and it’s something that our parents taught us,” Cuellar said. “Go get an education, work hard, but always give back to the community.”

The seat is open next year because its incumbent, Rep. Tracy King, D-Uvalde, is not seeking reelection. Republicans view it was a top pickup opportunity as they try to make further inroads in predominantly Hispanic South Texas.

The district includes Uvalde, the site of Texas’ deadliest school shooting which took place in May 2022. Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin is among the candidates running in the Republican primary. He faces Pleasanton Mayor Clint Powell.

Cuellar will face at least two other candidates in the Democratic primary: Carlos Lopez, chair of the Uvalde County Democratic Party, and Cecillia Castellano, a construction firm executive from Atascosa County.

Cuellar said she knows the district may be trending red, “but we are certainly going to try our very best to keep it blue.”

Former President Donald Trump would have carried the district by 4 percentage points in 2020.

Rosie Cuellar is currently serving as municipal judge for Rio Bravo, a small city south of Laredo. She was Webb County tax assessor-collector in 2019 and 2020, and before that, she was a Laredo municipal court judge for eight years.

Henry Cuellar has represented the area in Congress since 2005. Their brother, Martin Cuellar, is sheriff of Webb County.

National Republicans targeted Henry Cuellar last year as part of their South Texas offensive, but the unabashed moderate won by a wider-than-expected margin.

Rosie Cuellar said she is “my own individual” but the siblings share the philosophy of their parents: “You work hard and you don’t give up.”

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