The Cuellar-Rodriguez race in the Democratic primary for CD 28 is going into overtime as Cueller has formally asked for a recount.
Henry Cuellar, the Laredo lawyer who narrowly lost to incumbent U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez in the Democratic primary, called for a recount today an hour before the deadline.
He was scheduled to have a 4:30 news conference at his Laredo headquarters to announce the development.
The recount is the latest twist in a dramatic race between two former Texas House colleagues that saw some prickly campaigning over the past few months. Cuellar accused Rodriguez, a San Antonio native, of doing little for the district during his seven-year tenure while Rodriguez painted a portrait of an opportunistic party-hopper willing to sell his political soul for elected office.
District 28 includes 11 counties and runs from Hays County in the north to Zapata County in the south. More than 48,500 votes were cast in the race.
The final canvass by the Texas Democratic Primary on Saturday revealed a 145-vote margin in Rodriguez’s favor.
Because the contest took place during a primary, the Texas Democratic Party will conduct the recount. Recounts arising out of a general election are handled by the Texas secretary of state’s office.
Party officials have two days to review Cuellar’s petition and ensure its accuracy. Once the petition is approved, the recount must begin within seven days, said Jim Boynton, primary director for the Texas Democratic Party.
Each county involved in the recount will be contacted and a time scheduled for the recount. Both Cuellar and Rodriguez have the right to be present with one or more representatives at each recount site, Boynton said.
The recount will likely be completed early next month, before the runoff election on April 13, he said.
Boynton said he hasn’t seen a recount requested in a race this size since 1988 in an appellate court race. The original election was not overturned that time.
“It’s sort of a process,” Boynton said. “It’s time consuming and it’s hard to get everybody to make the times fit together.”