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Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday endorsed Jessica Cisneros’ bid to unseat Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar, as early voting in the state begins ahead of the March 1 primary election.

Cisneros, 28, fell narrowly short of defeating Cuellar in a 2020 primary decided by fewer than 3,000 votes. Cuellar, who has represented the district since 2005, is an aggressive critic of the progressive left and last remaining Democrat in the House who has consistently voted against abortion rights.

“Jessica knows that real change comes from the bottom on up, not the top on down,” Sanders said in a statement. “She will fight for the working class in Congress and together we will build a movement to transform this nation so that it works for all our people.”

For Houston-area retiree Pam Gaskin, voting is a ritual that starts every January when she completes her application for an absentee mail ballot.

This year, the 74-year-old printed the application on January 3, filled it out and mailed it to her local election office. Days later, a rejection letter arrived: The forms she had pulled from the county’s website no longer complied with Texas law.

So, she tried again — using the new form, which required her to submit a Texas identification number or partial Social Security number. But it, too, was rejected. The problem this time: She had submitted her driver’s license number, but it didn’t match the identification she used 46 years ago when she first registered to vote after moving to Fort Bend County.

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland criticized his party Sunday for being “focused on the wrong things,” saying its preoccupation with the results of the 2020 election is holding it back from having “a positive, hopeful vision for America.”

The comments from Hogan, a moderate Republican who frequently speaks out against his party and former President Donald Trump, come days after he declined to be a candidate for US Senate, disappointing GOP leaders who saw him as the party’s best shot at ousting one of the state’s incumbent Democratic senators.

“I think they’re, you know, sometimes focused on the wrong things. Not just being a roadblock to Biden. I mean there are certain things we want to stand up to President Biden. The inflation is out of control and we’re talking about billions in more spending — trillions of more spending,” Hogan told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan sounds, to all the world, like a man ready to run for president in 2024.

“I’m concerned about the direction of the party and the country,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday. “And I’ll make a decision about 2024 after I finish this job.”

While things do change — and Hogan made clear that he won’t turn to seriously considering the Republican presidential primary race until he finishes out his second term as governor in January 2023 — it does seem likely that he will run for the Oval Office in two years’ time.

This week’s Democratic memo that voters want a return to normalcy hasn’t reached the party’s Senate candidates.

Even as several blue-state governors dropped mask mandates — and the chair of the party’s House campaign committee declared on Tuesday it was time to shift their communications on Covid-19 — Democratic senators and candidates don’t seem to want anything to do with the new messaging.

Senate Democrats’ reluctance to embrace a return-to-normal message — one that 70 percent of people support — comes as Republicans continue to seize on the issue. Republican senators and candidates are portraying their Democratic rivals as in lockstep with President Joe Biden, whose administration continues to recommend indoor mask mandates in schools and other public settings.


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