April 03, 2004
No Webb County re-recount

Looks like the CD 28 Democratic primary has finally concluded, pending the inevitable lawsuit.

A request for a second recount of disputed Webb County ballots in the 28th Congressional District was rejected Friday by Texas Democratic Party officials, who said a courtroom, not a counting room, is the best place to resolve the clouded election.

"There is little doubt that something sketchy is going on in Zapata and Webb counties," said Texas Democratic Party Chairman Charles Soechting. "I feel strongly that there ought to be a recount. That recount should occur under the watchful eye of a judge, and any comments about how extra ballots appeared should be made under oath."

The decision was the latest development in a dramatic Democratic primary contest between incumbent U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez and Laredo opponent Henry Cuellar.

Cuellar used the opportunity to restate his claim to victory, while Rodriguez continued preparations to challenge the results through a lawsuit that is expected to be filed next week.

"(Another recount) would have delayed the filing of our lawsuit, and we want to get that in as quickly as possible," said John Puder, a Rodriguez spokesman. "At this point, the people who are answering these questions about what happened (should) have to do it under oath in court."

In a statement released Friday, Cuellar said he was "honored that the voters of the 28th Congressional District have chosen me to carry the Democratic Party's banner this fall in the general election."

Pending potential legal action, the recount is considered an official record of the election, meaning that Cuellar is the winner at this point in the race, said Mike Lavigne, a spokesman from the Texas Democratic Party.

But the fight between the two former friends and Texas House colleagues in the 11-county district appeared far from over.

If there really were irregularities in Zapata County, Ciro Rodriguez will have his chance to prove it. Until then, it looks like this is the first example I can recall of a recount changing the outcome of an election.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 03, 2004 to Election 2004 | TrackBack