The chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said victory is in the grasp of Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) in his South Texas runoff primary in an apparent bid to get “Squad”-backed, liberal challenger Jessica Cisneros to concede before the race is called.

Although there are only 175 votes standing between the two candidates, and there is a possibility of a recount, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) called the race in the nine-term incumbent’s favor on Tuesday. Cuellar declared victory last week, maintaining that his tight lead would hold.


“It appears that congressman Cuellar has won again, and we want him coming back to Congress if, in fact, he’s our nominee,” Maloney told the Dallas Morning News on Tuesday. “It’s my expectation that when the dust settles, he will be the Democratic nominee. And we are going to hold that seat.”

The runoff election remains too close to call a full week after the polls in Texas’s 28th Congressional District closed, with Cuellar holding a narrow 0.4% lead over Cisneros. Maloney does not have the power to call the election or count ballots, but his comments that Cuellar has won the race highlight the intraparty division over which candidate to advance to the November ballot.

The runoff election garnered nationwide attention after the leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion indicating the high court would overturn Roe v. Wade, the case in which a 1973 decision legalized abortion nationwide. Cisneros seized on the leaked report to chastise Cuellar for being the lone House Democrat to vote against codifying abortion access at the federal level.

Democratic lawmakers split on whether an anti-abortion lawmaker still has a place in the party. Several party leaders have thrown their support behind the incumbent, while multiple lawmakers on the far Left backed Cisneros.

Members of the Squad — including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) — endorsed Cisneros in her bid against Cuellar, criticizing Democratic leadership for attempting to maintain the status quo within Congress.


“You’re always going to have a certain sense of loyalty to your colleagues in a Democratic caucus. That’s how it works,” Maloney told the outlet. “Henry Cuellar is a proven vote-getter in that district. He’s won in a challenging political environment many times. He appears to have prevailed again.”

However, Cisneros has refused to concede until every ballot is counted, arguing there are “hundreds” left to be considered. The liberal also appealed to donors to raise a quarter-million dollars for a possible recount once the race is called.

The Washington Examiner reached out to both campaigns with requests for comment but did not receive responses.