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Raul Reyes announced Friday night that he will seek a recount in the razor-thin Republican primary runoff to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes, in his national battleground district.
Reyes' announcement came after the Texas GOP certified the results of his July 14 runoff against Tony Gonzales. The campaigns said the final margin was Gonzales by 45 votes, though the party had not confirmed that as of late Friday night.
“We worked too hard, for too long, not to ensure every legal vote was counted properly,” Reyes said in a statement.
Reyes' move all but ensures another chapter in the dramatic runoff, particularly when it comes to endorsements. President Donald Trump supported Gonzales, and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz backed Reyes.
Gonzales' campaign called Reyes' plans for a recount "hopeless and selfish," noting Gonzales has maintained his small lead since the runoff.
Reyes came out of election night down seven votes and did not concede, wanting to see the counting of final mail-in, provisional and military-overseas ballots. As those came in over the past few weeks, Gonzales repeatedly claimed victory and increasingly urged the party to unify for November. But Reyes held firm against conceding and began fundraising for a potential recount while waiting for the state party canvass.
The 23rd District is one of Democrats' best pickup opportunities nationwide, and their nominee, Gina Ortiz Jones, won her primary outright in March. Jones is running again after nearly unseating Hurd in 2018.
The 45-vote margin is well within the range of outcomes under which state law allows the candidate with fewer votes to ask for a recount. Reyes has until the end of the day Monday to file his recount request.
In his statement, Reyes said he "received hundreds upon hundreds of individual small donations to meet the needed $35,000 deposit for a recount." The law requires candidates who want a recount to submit a deposit based on the number of precincts in the district.
Reyes cited the district's size in explaining his desire for a recount.
"This is a large district, with 29 separate elections run by 29 distinct counties, many of which use paper ballots where human error often enters into the vote counting process," Reyes said. "We want to ensure all ballots were counted properly through an expeditious recount process as allowed under law."
Gonzales' campaign said it was confident he would remain on top after the recount and that delaying the final result will only help Ortiz Jones.
"We will remain focused on unifying the party and building a winning campaign for the general election," Gonzales spokesman Matt Mackowiak said in a statement.
Disclosure: The Texas secretary of state has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.