Sen. Sanders to visit McAllen ahead of midterm elections

Bernie Sanders

Staff for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders appeared to confirm on Wednesday his plans to make a stop in McAllen as part of an eight-state tour to rally young voters for the midterm elections.

Sanders is expected to make a stop in the Rio Grande Valley later this month to make an appearance in support of Michelle Vallejo, the Democratic candidate for Texas’ 15th congressional district, according to a report from the New York Times Tuesday morning.

His stop in McAllen will be one of at least 19 events he plans to attend beginning Oct. 27. The planned tour is an effort to encourage voter turnout due to concerns of dwindling energy among young and working class voters.

Though the New York Times report did not provide details about his McAllen visit, a reporter with the Texas Tribune later reported that Sanders planned to attend a McAllen event on Oct. 30.

Sanders’ campaign did not respond to attempts by The Monitor to independently confirm his visit and the details of the event.

Vallejo’s campaign said Sanders would be attending an event to which Vallejo had also been invited but could not provide further details.

News of his trip to South Texas comes on the same day that Sanders, an Independent, endorsed Vallejo in the highly competitive District 15 race in which she is running on a progressive platform.

“Working families in Texas need someone with the courage to take on corporate greed and political corruption,” a news release from the senator said. “Michelle Vallejo is running a grassroots campaign with an agenda that speaks to the needs of people living paycheck to paycheck.

“She believes we need to pass Medicare For All, bring good paying union jobs to her district, and protect a woman’s right to choose,” Sanders’ statement continued. “I’m proud to endorse Michelle Vallejo for Congress in Texas’ 15th congressional district.”

Her opponent, Trump-backed Monica De La Cruz, responded to reports of his visit on social media.

“Is Comrade Sanders bringing a hammer-and-sickle flag with him, too?” she wrote on Twitter. “Free advice: South Texans love tacos. We’re not so fond of breadlines though.”

The Sanders camp replied to De La Cruz just a few hours later.

“I’m bringing an agenda that makes clear that we can’t allow Republicans to give tax breaks to billionaires, cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid while they oppose raising the minimum wages, universal health care and making public colleges tuition free,” read his post on Twitter.

But De La Cruz didn’t stop there.

“Did you tweet this from Havana, Bernie?” De La Cruz wrote in a follow up tweet. “Tip for ya: Leave your Che Guevara shirt at home. Texans don’t take kindly to commies.”

The next morning she issued an official statement on Sanders’ planned trip to the Valley.

“I welcome my opponent inviting Bernie Sanders to campaign for her in South Texas because it clarifies the choice in this election,” De La Cruz’s statement read in part. “My opponent is endorsing Sanders’ plan to raise taxes on the middle class by trillions of dollars, jeopardize Medicare, and destroy our energy industry.”

Vallejo has expressed support for expanding health care access through Medicare-for-All and increasing wages to help families make ends meet.

Sanders is just the latest high-profile political figure expected to make an appearance in South Texas. Former President Donald J. Trump is scheduled to hold a rally on Saturday in Robstown, just west of Corpus Christi. There, he will be joined by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, among others.

Having already earned Trump’s support during the primary election, De La Cruz received another high-profile endorsement Wednesday from Gov. Greg Abbott.

“Monica De La Cruz is a mother and small business owner who understands what it will take to stop inflation and get our country back on track,” Abbott said in a news release. “She is a true champion for the men and women of law enforcement and will work hard to secure our border. I urge everyone in Congressional District 15 to join me in supporting Monica De La Cruz for Congress this November.”

Early voting begins Monday and runs through Nov. 4.

Election Day is Nov. 8.