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Cuellar, Cisnero’s Texas runoff remains too early to call

Austin, Texas — The Texas runoff between Democratic US Rep. Henry Cuellar and his progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros remained too early to call Friday.

Cuellar led Cisneros by 175 votes, or 0.4 percentage points, out of 45,209 ballots counted at 3 p.m. ET Friday.

Election officials in Bexar County, where Cisneros has a significant lead over Cuellar in ballot counts counted, said they won’t release results until Tuesday of an undisclosed number of ballots that require voters to fix an issue preventing the count.

In March, Cisneros, an immigration attorney, forced the runoff after getting close to 1,000 votes to Cuellar, a nine-term incumbent, in the mostly Hispanic district with a large Catholic population.

Cisneros, 29, who was an intern in Cuellar’s Washington office in 2014, had also challenged Cuellar in 2020, losing to him by just 4 percentage points.

In the final weeks of the race, abortion rights groups poured money and resources on the ground and on television in South Texas after a leaked draft opinion from the US Supreme Court signaled the Roe v. Wade’s 1973 constitutional right to abortion was on the verge of tipping over. Cisneros supports abortion rights, while Cuellar is one of the last anti-abortion Democrats in Congress.

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Despite Cuellar’s stance on abortion, uncompromising defense of gun rights, and support for the oil and gas industry, he had the support of many Democrats in Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn. Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York criticized her decision to bolster Cuellar, calling it a “complete failure of leadership.”

“The last time the leadership stepped in to save him, he thanked them by obstructing party signature laws, paving the way for the collapse of the child tax credit, and endangering millions while doing a lap of honor for it,” Ocasio tweeted – Cortez on Wednesday.

Ocasio-Cortez and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders had traveled to Texas to campaign with Cisneros.

That made the runoff another test of whether progressives could overthrow other more moderate, mainstream candidates. In Oregon, moderate Democratic US Rep. Kurt Schrader was ousted from Congress for seven terms by his progressive challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner in a primary last week.

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The winner of the Texas race will face Cassy Garcia, who won the Republican runoff for the seat.

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https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/05/27/cuellar-cisneros-runoff-in-texas-remains-too-early-to-call/ Cuellar, Cisnero’s Texas runoff remains too early to call

Sarah Y. Kim

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