As of Monday night, Cuellar led Cisneros by 187 votes, or 0.4 percentage points, according to the Associated Press. Because the contest was so close, however, the AP did not project a winner. Under Texas rules, there is no automatic recount. But the second can request – and pay – a second count if the margin of victory is less than 10% of the winner’s total.
Cuellar declared victory Monday night and called on Democrats to “come together,” while acknowledging that Cisneros “has every legal right to call a recount.”
“Every vote was counted and our margin was not only maintained but increased,” Cuellar said in a statement. “I welcome this process as it will only further confirm our victory.”
The March primary between the two Democrats headed to a runoff last month after neither got 50% of the vote needed to qualify for November’s general election.
Cisneros and Cuellar are locked in a close battle
The main battle is just the last close race for Cuellar. In his first run for Congress in 2004, the conservative Democrat won a 58-vote primary victory over incumbent Rep. Ciro D. Rodriguez.
More recently, Cisneros nearly unseated Cuellar in the 2020 Democratic primary, trailing the incumbent by 2,690 votes, or about three percentage points. She forced him into last month’s runoff by keeping his vote total below 50% in the March primary.
Cisneros, a first-generation Mexican American lawyer like Cuellar, has previously interned for the congressman. She said several times during the campaign that Cuellar, who opposes abortion rights and criticizes some of President Biden’s immigration policies, was out of touch with the 28th District.
Cuellar is the only anti-abortion Democrat in the House. After a draft Supreme Court opinion on abortion rights was leaked last month, Cuellar said in a statement that while he is personally opposed to abortion, there “must be exceptions in cases of rape, incest and danger to the life of the mother”.
The race has underscored divisions within the Democratic Party and is seen as a test of whether left-leaning candidates, who have struggled in recent elections, can prevail over more moderate Democrats.
The run also follows an FBI raid on Cuellar’s home and campaign headquarters in January. The congressman declared his innocence and vowed to stay in the running. The FBI declined to discuss the investigation.
Cuellar is one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress. He was spurred on by support from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (DS.C.). Cisneros, meanwhile, backs more liberal policies and enjoys the support of a new generation of liberal Democrats, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), as well as the Senses. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
And while Cuellar’s positions are in line with right-wing tendencies in his district, particularly his hometown of Laredo, where many Hispanic voters espouse conservative views on religion, family and social values, throughout his tenure. campaign, Cisneros rallied behind Cuellar’s position on issues such as abortion. , immigration and health care arguing that they no longer represent what the district wants.
In his statement on Monday, Cisneros said his campaign and his movement were “never about a single politician.”
“It was about tackling an unfair system that rewards corruption and corporate profits at the expense of workers’ needs,” Cisneros said.