Jessica Cisneros, down 177 votes, says ‘hundreds’ of ballots still uncounted in Henry Cuellar runoff


WASHINGTON — Jessica Cisneros, the progressive immigration attorney trailing longtime Laredo congressman Henry Cuellar by 177 votes in a blockbuster South Texas runoff, said Thursday that ballots are still being counted and a final tally likely will not be available until after Memorial Day.

“We are within reach to go on and win this thing,” Cisneros said. “There’s still a lot up in the air right now.”

Cisneros said her campaign has been told by elections offices that there are still “hundreds” of uncounted mail-in and provisional ballots across the district and that many will not be counted until after the holiday weekend.

Her campaign has also urged voters who mailed in ballots to check whether they were rejected and has set up a call for those whose were. Cisneros said the hotline has been “ ringing nonstop all day since yesterday when we put out that call.”

“Because the race is so, so close and the margin is very close, we need to make sure that everyone who casted a ballot gets their ballot counted,” she said.

Cuellar declared victory Tuesday night in the race, which drew national attention and millions of dollars in political contributions.

“The votes are in, the margin will hold,” Cuellar tweeted at the time. His campaign did not respond to a request for comment on Cisneros’ claims that hundreds of ballots are still out.

Cisneros slammed Cuellar for issuing the statement.

“It’s very irresponsible and kind of insulting for him to disregard the hundreds of votes that are still out there, because those are constituents making their voices heard,” she said. “But at the same time, this line of ‘stop the count’ doesn’t surprise this campaign, because he’s Trump’s favorite Democrat for a reason.”

Cisneros also said a recount is possible, given the slim margins. She pointed to Cuellar’s 2004 victory in a primary race against an incumbent, when a recount vaulted him to victory by 58 votes after losing the first tally by 145 votes.

Her campaign, meanwhile, has sent text messages to supporters asking for donations as “a recount is looking more and more likely.” But Cisneros said Thursday that neither campaign will know until all the results are in.

“It might not be us that’s going to request the recount,” she said.

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