But he did offer something of a defense of his political career: “I pride myself on being your congressman, and always doing things honestly, ethically and the right way.”
The defiant statement from Cuellar comes as Cisneros has picked up some key endorsements this week – momentum that her backers believe can carry through to the March 1 primary, even against the far better-funded incumbent.
While Cisneros has said little publicly about Cuellar being under investigation, her campaign went up with her first ad of the primary cycle this week — a direct response to Cuellar’s own buy.
In the lengthy statement on Tuesday, Cuellar affirmed that his plans to run remained unchanged despite looming questions about why he has been targeted by law enforcement.
“Let me be clear: I am running for reelection and I intend to win,” Cuellar said.
He’d already signaled that he wouldn’t be backing down. Over the weekend, Cuellar’s campaign spent $60,000 on an ad buy after an outside group canceled its previously schedule airtime. That’s in addition to $115,000 in air time through the end of January, according to his team.
Few of Cuellar’s allies have come to his defense in public, with several privately saying they are awaiting more information about the investigation. Still, none of Cuellar’s endorsements have been publicly pulled.
And privately, some senior Democrats who’ve spent years working with the veteran Blue Dog — who’s survived years of attacks as a socially conservative, border-district Democrat — say they aren’t fully counting him out.
Cuellar said he had received “many calls, texts, tweets and messages of support.”
“The outpouring of support from so many in our community is humbling. And I’d like to personally thank you for having our back,” Cuellar said.