Jessica Cisneros, the progressive immigration attorney in South Texas, said Monday she would formally demand a recount in her razor-sharp runoff election against Rep. Henry Cuellar, the nine-year incumbent and moderate Democrat she’s been trying to oust for years.
“I owe it to our community to bring this to the end,” Ms Cisneros said in a statement.
The May 24 election has not been announced by The Associated Press. On Friday, Mr Cuellar was in favor of Mrs Cisneros with 187 votes.
The Cisneros campaign said the Democratic Party of Texas examined and certified the results of the second round on Monday, and the assessment found that Mr. Cuellar was in favor of Ms. Cisneros by 281 votes. Mr Cuellar’s campaign had already declared victory the day after the second round, saying that the margin of victory at that point “will keep.”
In a statement on Monday, Mr Cuellar said: “Every vote has been counted and our margin has not only been preserved, but increased.” He added: “As Democrats, now is the time to come together and win the November general election.”
Mr Cuellar said Ms Cisneros had “every legal right” to demand a recount, but said she “has no road to victory and will not get 281 votes”.
Ms. Cisneros has until 5 p.m. Wednesday to formally submit a recount request to the Texas Democratic Party, which in turn has 48 hours to review the case, a party spokeswoman said. The spokeswoman, Rose Clouston, said that once the request was received and eligible, the ballot recount process could begin immediately.
The race has attracted national attention as Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other progressive leaders have backed Ms. Cisneros’ bid to dethrone one of the most conservative Democrats in the House. Mr. Cuellar campaigned alongside Representative James E. Clyburn, the House majority whip, and was criticized for a federal investigation. The FBI raided Mr. Cuellar’s Laredo home earlier this year as part of an investigation that appears to be linked to an investigation into the political influence of Azerbaijan, the former Soviet republic.
Ms Cisneros’ demand for a recount on Monday was the latest chapter in her efforts to defeat Mr Cuellar, for whom she had once worked as an intern. In 2020, Ms. Cisneros came within 2700 votes of victory. This year, she challenged him again, holding him just below the 50 percent threshold in the March primary to avoid a runoff.
In the Texas primaries, any candidate who finishes below 50 percent will take home number two in a runoff election. In the Democratic primary in March, Mr Cuellar won 48.4 percent of the vote, Ms Cisneros 46.9 percent and another Liberal candidate, Tannya Benavides, 4.7 percent.