Far-left Democratic US House candidate Jessica Cisneros, backed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, called for a recount of her runoff election against Rep. Henry Cuellar on Monday after the state’s final canvas declared Cuellar the winner.
The incumbent Congressman narrowly took home the win with just 281 more votes than Cisneros. The Texas Democratic Party certified the election results Monday afternoon.
“Our community isn’t done fighting, we are filing for a recount,” Cisneros said in a statement. “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.”
While Cuellar had declared victory as soon as election night, Cisneros and her team avoided conceding or calling for a recount until an official canvas done by the state was completed.
“My opponent has every legal right to call for a recount though she had previously stated that she ‘wont stop fighting until every vote has been counted.’ Well every vote has been counted,” Cuellar said in a statement.
“She has no path to victory and will not gain 281 votes. I welcome this process as it will only further verify our victory.”
On Friday, Cuellar declared victory a second time, saying “I have won this election.”
“To those who did not vote for me, as your congressman I will continue to work diligently for you in Washington. While we may differ on certain positions, we share a common ground on many issues to improve our communities and strengthen families,” he said in a statement obtained by KENS-TV, adding that it was “a hard-fought race.”
Under Texas law, candidates can request a recount at their own expense within five days of an election or two days of a completed canvass, whichever is later.
In the days following the May 24 election, Cisneros and her allies urged voters to track their mail-in ballots to ensure every vote was counted.
“Cisneros’ race isn’t over,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted the day after. “If you’re in TX28, we need you to track your mail-in ballot.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet also shared a post from Cisneros that linked to the ballot tracker page on the Texas secretary of state’s website.
“If your mail-in ballot was rejected, call our voter protection hotline: 956-413-7752 & we’ll help you cure it,” tweeted Cisneros, using a term referring to voters fixing errors to ensure their ballot is counted. “We won’t stop fighting until every vote is counted. #TX28.”
Cisneros sought to keep Cuellar from serving a potential 10th term in Congress, frequently pointing to his pro-life and pro-gun stances.
While the incumbent garnered support from key Democratic leaders like Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Ocasio-Cortez accused the party of being an “incumbent protection racket”
“On the day of a mass shooting and weeks after news of Roe, Democratic Party leadership rallied for a pro-NRA, anti-choice incumbent under investigation in a close primary. Robocalls, fundraisers, all of it,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote in a Twitter thread on the day of the election. “Accountability isn’t partisan. This was an utter failure of leadership.”
“Congress should not be an incumbent protection racket and sadly it is treated as such by far too many,” she continued. “The fact is those who fail their communities deserve to lose. They don’t need rescuing from powerful leaders who state they fight for gun safety, the right to choose, and more.”