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Government/Politics

Cuellar, Cisneros headed to runoff in key Democratic primary race

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In one of the most closely watched Democratic primaries in the country, nine-term incumbent Henry Cuellar is headed to a runoff against his former intern, 28-year-old immigration attorney Jessica Cisneros.

With 99% of votes reported, Cuellar had 48.5% of the vote compared to 46.8% for Cisneros. Neither topped the 50% threshold needed to avoid a runoff.

The race is a rematch from 2020 between one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress who touts a long list of local endorsements and a progressive who has the endorsement of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

"A runoff is going to just be one step closer to toppling Cuellar as the incumbent and continue to center our campaign around the needs of our community," Cisneros told TPR. "And we've gotten this far because I've stayed true to myself and my values and the values in South Texas. And even if it's going to take a little bit longer, if we continue working the way that we've been working and reaching voters where they are, we're going to have a victory."

Cuellar did not respond to TPR's request for comment on Tuesday.

An FBI raid on Cuellar’s Laredo home and campaign office in January added another dimension to an already close race. ABC and CBS News report that the raids are part of a federal investigation into the country and a group of U.S. businessmen who have ties to it.

TPR has not confirmed that reporting. Cuellar, who is co-chair of the Azerbaijan caucus, denies any wrongdoing and said he is cooperating.

Republican candidates Cassy Garcia and Sandy Whitten will also head into a runoff in the 28th District. They have the backing of national Republicans who target this as a seat they can flip.

The district spans from San Antonio to Laredo to the Rio Grande Valley.

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