A progressive Democrat backed by US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a tight congressional primary race engaged in a long-running affair with her former high school teacher, bombshell emails obtained by The Post reveal.
Immigration lawyer Jessica Cisneros, 28, apparently began sleeping with former teacher John Balli in 2011, when she was an 18-year-old college student and he was 40.
“Happy 3! <3,” Cisneros emailed Balli in September 2014. “9.10.11-9.10.14 :D”
The next year, about 11 months after Balli married another woman, Cisneros sent him a lengthy, emotional email in which she bemoaned their breakup, which apparently came at his insistence.
“You’ve been such a big part of my life for the past 7 years, John,” she wrote.
“I’ll miss you making love to me. I’ll miss your kisses, cuddles, and snores…You were my first and my one and only, John. I’ll miss thinking I’m your one and only too.”
Last month, Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) traveled to San Antonio to stump for Cisneros, a far-left Democrat who’s mounting her second challenge to nine-term Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), and another Democratic congressional candidate ahead of Texas’ March 1 Democratic primary.
Cuellar — whose home was raided by the FBI in January — narrowly beat Cisneros, 48.4 percent to 46.9 percent.
But because Cuellar fell about 800 votes short of capturing a majority, he faces a May 24 runoff against Cisneros, who interned for him in 2014.
When Cisneros first ran against her old boss in 2019, she said that Balli — who now works as a lawyer — had been her mentor at Early College High School in Laredo, Texas.
Cisneros also credited Balli for nominating her to run with the backing of the ultra-liberal “Justice Democrats,” whose ranks include Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow “Squad” members.
“He’s believed in me so much, and even through college, through law school, he’s just been there and has such a big impact on me, like so many educators here,” she told the Laredo Morning Times back then.
Ocasio-Cortez also supported Cisneros during that failed bid.
In June 2021, Balli’s wife, hairstylist Sandra Ramirez Guevara, filed for divorce from Balli — citing grounds that included adultery — and their marriage was dissolved in October, according to court records filed in Webb County, Texas.
Ramirez’s divorce petition didn’t detail the adultery allegation, but a source close to her said she blames Cisneros for breaking up her marriage and claims that Cisneros would often call Balli late at night when he and his wife were in bed.
The source said Ramirez has vented to both friends and clients that Cisneros is “the reason I am divorced … because I wasn’t nice to Jessica.”
It’s unclear whether Cisneros and Balli, 51, reconciled following their 2015 breakup, but he tweeted in support of her candidacy after Ocasio-Cortez stumped for her at the Paper Tiger concert venue in San Antonio.
“The rally at @papertigersa was electric and kudos to @AOC for coming down to San Antonio to show her support for @JCisnerosTX,” he wrote over a photo of both women in front of the crowd.
A source familiar with Balli’s thinking also said he’s floated the notion of potentially following Cisneros to the nation’s capital.
“He said that maybe in the future he can move to [Washington], DC, if Jessica was a congresswoman,” the source said,
“He was thinking to be in her staff.”
A source who told The Post about the relationship between Cisneros and Balli — which was first reported by the Daily Mail — said it could emerge as a character issue in Cuellar’s Democrat-leaning but socially conservative south Texas district.
Cisneros’ campaign initially denied she had an affair with Balli, saying there’s “no validity to these claims,” but walked back that assertion after The Post detailed some of their email correspondence.
In a subsequent statement, the campaign said, “Jessica and the voters are not interested in discussing this desperate town hall gossip aimed to distract from the real concerns people have about Cuellar’s corruption after the FBI raided his mansion. This is exactly why people are tired of politics in Washington.”
Balli hasn’t responded to repeated requests for comment and Ocasio-Cortez’s office didn’t immediately return a message on Thursday.
Ramirez and Cuellar’s office declined to comment.