Henry Cuellar wins Democratic primary to keep his South Texas congressional seat, recount finds

A separate recount found that Michelle Vallejo won the party’s nomination for another congressional seat.

click to enlarge U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar speaks in 2020 at a downtown San Antonio press briefing. - SANFORD NOWLIN
Sanford Nowlin
U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar speaks in 2020 at a downtown San Antonio press briefing.
A recount has confirmed U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, as the winner of his hard-fought primary runoff, according to the Texas Democratic Party.

The recount wrapped up Tuesday, and Cuellar picked up eight votes, defeating progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros by 289 votes overall, the party said.

“As I said on election night, ‘the margin will hold’ — and it has not only held but grown,” Cuellar said in a statement earlier Tuesday. “I am proud to be your Democratic nominee for the 28th District of Texas.”

Cuellar’s Democratic primary runoff was one of two in South Texas that had gone to recounts. In the other runoff, for the open seat in the 15th Congressional District, Michelle Vallejo remained the winner after a recount wrapped up last week.

Cuellar led Cisneros by 177 votes after election night nearly a month ago. His lead grew to 281 votes by the time the final ballots were counted.

Cuellar had repeatedly declared victory, starting on election night, and dismissed the notion that a recount would change the outcome.

His race against Cisneros was full of drama. The FBI raided his Laredo home during the primary. Then during the runoff, Politico published a leaked draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court indicating a majority of justices could be willing to overturn Roe v. Wade, drawing more attention than ever to Cuellar’s opposition to abortion.

The runoff in the 15th Congressional District was also closely watched because it is expected to be the most competitive House race this November in Texas. Vallejo, who ran as a progressive, led the moderate Ruben Ramirez by 23 votes after election night and by 30 votes after the final ballots were tallied. The recount increased her lead to 35 votes.

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