Cisneros to request recount in Texas runoff against Cuellar


Texas Democrat Jessica Cisneros announced on Monday she will request a recount in her primary runoff against incumbent Rep. Henry Cuellar, with their too-close-to-call race separated by less than half a percentage point.

Cisneros, a progressive activist, had knocked Cuellar during the campaign for his more conservative views on issues such as abortion.

Cuellar, meanwhile, had the backing of Democratic establishment figures including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and House Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.). The Associated Press has not yet called the race, with nearly two weeks having passed since polls closed, and Cuellar is ahead by just 177 votes, according to the Texas secretary of state’s office.

“Our movement was never just about one politician — it was about taking on an unjust system that rewards corruption and corporate profits at the expense of the needs of working people,” Cisneros said in a statement posted by a Texas Tribune reporter that Cisneros later retweeted.

“Our community isn’t done fighting, we are filing for a recount,” she continued. “With just under 0.6 percent of the vote symbolizing such stark differences for the future in South Texas, I owe it to our community to see this through to the end.”

As the runoff election approached, Cisneros’s criticism over Cuellar’s more conservative positions grew as a draft Supreme Court opinion leaked indicating a majority of justices were poised to overturn Roe v. Wade. Cuellar is the sole remaining anti-abortion House Democrat and had come under fire from some of his colleagues for his position.

Cuellar had also come under scrutiny earlier this year during the primary campaign when his Texas home and campaign offices were raided by the FBI as a part of an investigation into U.S. businessmen and Azerbaijan. Cuellar and his attorney said he has been cleared of any wrongdoing and is not a part of any investigation.

Pelosi and Clyburn both assisted Cuellar’s campaign in the days leading up to the election, recording robocalls backing the incumbent Democrat. Clyburn also made a visit to Cuellar’s district for a campaign event last month.

That support has led to anger from some progressives who believe establishment support potentially pushed Cuellar over the finish line.

The winner of the primary runoff will face GOP nominee Cassy Garcia in November in what is expected to be a close race. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the district as a “toss-up,” and the National Republican Congressional Committee has included it on its target list.

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