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Tipsheet

Rep. Ruben Gallego Goes After Fellow Hispanic Running for Congress, and She's Not Even His Opponent

AP Photo/Matt York

Earlier this week, First Lady Jill Biden made remarks referring to the "diversity" of the Hispanic community,  during which she referred to Hispanics as being "as unique as the breakfast tacos here in San Antonio." Such remarks drew considerable mockery and outrage, especially from the Hispanic community. The first lady apologized the following day, via a tweet from her press secretary, though that was also mocked. 

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The comments led to an ugly back-and-forth between Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) and Republican candidate Tanya Contreras Wheeless, as he responded to her taking issue with the first lady's remarks by saying she's Latina "Cuando le conviene," translated to "when it suits you."

The dispute is further bizarre as the two are not even facing each other in November. Rep. Gallego is running for re-election in Arizona's 7th Congressional District, while Contreras Wheeless is running to be able to face Rep. Greg Stanton to represent Arizona's 4th Congressional District. 

In another tweet, Gallego again quote retweeted Contreras Wheeless taking issue with the first lady's remarks. He accused the Republican candidate of "hid[ding] behind Wheeless to avoid facing racism as a Hispanic. 

He did so in other tweets as well.

When Contreras Wheeless released a press release later on Wednesday calling out Gallego for his remarks, he tweeted it out to mock her. 

"Ruben Gallego’s claim that I am not sufficiently Latina because I don't always use my full name is disappointing, but not surprising. Many women change their last name when they get married, but that doesn’t change who they are or where they came from. Attacking me for using my married name is sexist and racist. These gross attacks have sadly become too frequent in our political discourse," said Contreras Wheeless. 

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The candidate rose above it and used it as an opportunity. "This smear was likely intended to ruin my day. Mission failed. I am proud of my heritage and who I am - today and every day. I will use my name when and how I want. I am proud to be part Mexican, part Canadian and 100% American, and I'll never stop fighting for the American dream," she continued. 

Gallego even thought it fitting to engage in a back-and-forth with a user that took issue with his going after Contreras Wheeless. That user has a single follower.

Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media have been going after Republican Hispanics, especially women, with a recent ferocity. Last week, The New York Times published a hit piece, focusing mainly on Rep. Mayra Flores, but also Republican candidates Monica De La Cruz and Cassy Garcia, with "The Rise of the Far-Right Latina."

The Arizona primary will take place on August 2. Contreras Wheeless, who is facing four other candidates, is the only woman in the race, and has been endorsed by Rep. Elise Stefanik's E-PAC.  

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Cook's Political Report and Sabato's Crystal Ball consider the race to "Lean Democratic," while Inside Elections regards it as "Likely Democratic."

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