These voters, several of whom expressed support for abortion rights but said they would still vote for an anti-abortion congressman, revealed the uphill battle Ms Cisneros faces as she tries to convince voters to oust a well-known political figure. whose family has long been a fixture in the community. Even among Democrats, support for abortion rights may not be motivating voters, especially working-class Latinos, in a uniform way — a demographic showing signs of drifting away from the party.

Hector Gomez, 67, has known Mr. Cuellar since they were classmates at JW Nixon High School in the 1970s, and has voted for Congress in every election since he first ran in 2006.

“He’s doing his job,” said Mr Gomez, owner of an antiques shop, adding that while he is a Catholic and is against abortion, the issue does not determine his vote. “Mr. Cuellar is the best choice because he is not someone you can just brush off.”

Texas’ 28th congressional district stretches from the Mexican border to San Antonio, and Laredo is its political center. A working-class town, it has been a democratic stronghold for decades, but remains culturally conservative, with residents filling Catholic pews on Sundays. Many describe themselves as apolitical, saying they are more focused on making ends meet than taking positions on partisan political issues.

Before this week’s leaked Supreme Court opinion, abortion was not the focus of the primary campaign, although several national abortion rights groups had invested heavily in the district, focusing on the state’s new abortion restrictions in Texas. According to AdImpact, an ad-tracking company, Ms. Cisneros only ran a television commercial about the matter late last month. Until the focus on abortion was renewed this week, the runoff had been a mostly drowsy affair, with observers predicting extremely low turnout.

Now Ms. Cisneros and her supporters have taken to using the threat to abortion rights as a: main motivator for voters and donors alike.

“We’re really at a time when people are excited and know how much they risk losing,” said Kristin Ford, vice president of communications and research at the abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America, which has sent organizers to Laredo to campaign for Ms. Cisneros.

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