Cuellar leads in TX-28 runoff by fewer than 200 votes based on unofficial returns; recount possible

Incumbent Henry Cuellar and Jessica Cisneros ran in the Democratic primary runoff for Texas’ 28th Congressional District on May 24. The race remained too close to call at 9:00 a.m. EDT on May 25, 2022. Cuellar led with 50.2% of the vote. Under state law, candidates may request a recount if the margin of victory is less than 10%.

In the March 1 primary, Cuellar received 48.4% of the vote, followed by Cisneros with 46.9% and Tannya Benavides with 4.7%.

This year’s runoff was a rematch of the 2020 primary, which Cuellar won outright by defeating Cisneros 51.8% to 48.2%. 

The candidates disagreed on abortion policy. This race occurred alongside several events related to abortion policy, including the passage of Texas Senate Bill 8, a vote in the U.S. House to legalize abortion nationally, and the leak of a draft opinion for a case related to abortion pending before the Supreme Court of the United States, that disagreement intensified.

Cuellar, in Congress since 2005, is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition. He was the only House Democrat to vote against a bill in 2021 that would have codified the right to abortion in federal law. Cuellar’s campaign said his membership on the House Appropriations Committee helped fund education, healthcare, small businesses, veterans, and immigration services programs in the district.

Cisneros is an immigration attorney and supported Medicare For All, legal access to abortion, a pathway to citizenship for immigrants, and the For The People Act. Cisneros criticized Cuellar for his abortion stance, his votes on federal immigration proposals, and his response to the coronavirus pandemic, citing the latter as a key reason she ran again.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus endorsed Cuellar. Sens. Edward Markey, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren, Reps. Jamaal Bowman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Ayanna Pressley, and Justice Democrats endorsed Cisneros. The San Antonio Express-News Editorial Board, which backed Cuellar in the 2020 primary, endorsed Cisneros in the 2022 primary.

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Note: a previous version of this story stated that Cuellar was the only House Democrat to vote against the bill in 2022. This story has been updated to reflect that the bill was up for a vote in 2021, not 2022.