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Michelle Vallejo leads D15 in runoff race

Michelle Vallejo greets voters at an event during the Democratic Primary runoff election.
Courtesy photo
Michelle Vallejo campaign
Michelle Vallejo greets voters at an event during the Democratic Primary runoff election.

With all precincts reporting on Tuesday night, Democratic primary candidate for Congressional District 15 Michelle Vallejo led the race ahead of Ruben Ramirez by only 23 votes. Of the 12,063 total votes reported on Wednesday morning, Vallejo received 6,043 votes and Ramirez received 6,020 votes district-wide.

Hilda Salinas, assistant director of the Hidalgo County Elections Department, said that the race was too close to call on Wednesday morning, with a final result expected on Thursday, June 2.

“We still have to wait for all the out of county ballots and mail-in ballots to come in,” Salinas said. “The Ballot Board will be meeting on Wednesday to finalize everything so that everything can be canvassed on Thursday.”

The canvassing process is the final step before certification of results, and it includes a careful tally of all ballots.

“As per Texas election code, there's certain ballots that still have time to come in and be counted by our ballot board,” Salinas added.

Both campaigns declined to comment on Wednesday morning on whether a call for a recount could occur over the next week.

Vallejo issued a statement late Tuesday night: “Though the race is too close to call, we are heartened by the clear path to victory.”

A statement from the Ramirez campaign Wednesday morning stated, “Our campaign trusts in the democratic process and integrity of this election. We know that our election workers are doing all they can to get us a result, and we thank them for their tireless work.”

Vallejo called for health care for everyone and a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented Americans. Ramirez ran as a moderate Democrat, supporting Medicaid expansion and increased border security.

National groups have watched the District 15 race closely after surprises in recent election cycles, legislative redistricting, and the departure of incumbent Vicente Gonzalez made it one of the most competitive seats in the country.

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In the March primary, Ramirez led Vallejo by 8 percentage points. But on Wednesday morning, vote tallies showed Vallejo leading the three counties with the largest voter turnouts in Hidalgo, Guadalupe, and Wilson.

The winning candidate will face Republican nominee Monica De La Cruz, who has received wide support from GOP voters, lawmakers and former President Donald Trump.

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Pablo De La Rosa is a freelance journalist reporting statewide with Texas Public Radio and nationally with NPR from the Texas-Mexico border in the Rio Grande Valley, from where he originates. He’s the host of the daily Spanish-language newscast TPR Noticias Al Día.