WASHINGTON, June 21 (Reuters) – A recount has confirmed that U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar beat progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros by a razor-thin margin, the Texas Democratic Party said on Tuesday, following a very tight Democratic primary battle. publicized centered on the right to abortion.

The election in a district along the US-Mexico border was a rematch between Cuellar, a moderate who has held the seat since 2005, and Cisneros, a 29-year-old lawyer who failed to oust him in 2020 but l forced a second round. after the primary in March this year.

Cuellar edged Cisneros by just 289 votes out of more than 45,000 votes cast, or 0.6%, according to unofficial results of an electronic recount in nine counties.

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The race took on new urgency after a leaked draft opinion said the Supreme Court could overturn a 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

Cuellar, 66, is the only House Democrat to vote against abortion rights. Pro-choice groups have spent at least $160,000 supporting Cisneros’ campaign, and May 12 financial disclosures showed Cisneros had outsold Cuellar by nearly $1.4 million and had about $400,000 available. more than Cuellar. Read more

Cuellar has largely avoided the abortion issue, instead focusing his campaign on public safety and jobs. He said Cisneros would hurt the local economy by cutting funding for law enforcement in a district where many voters work for border patrol agencies.

Voters rewarded him with the narrow victory, although Cisneros benefited from increased name recognition and an FBI investigation that saw searches of Cuellar’s home and office earlier this year.

In a post on Twitter, Cisneros conceded the race, saying she “will continue to fight for a more progressive and accountable Democratic Party and strive to make Texas blue in November.”

Cuellar is the favorite against Republican Cassy Garcia in November’s midterm elections, though Republicans have shown growing strength in South Texas in recent years.

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Reporting by Moira Warburton and Makini Brice in Washington; additional reporting by Jason Lange and Joseph Axe; Editing by Andy Sullivan, Alistair Bell and Lincoln Feast.

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