After recount, Democrat remains winner of battleground South Texas Senate seat

Morgan LaMantia, Texas Senate District 27 Democratic Candidate, after a Futuro RGV candidate forum in Brownsville on Jan. 19, 2022. (Verónica G. Cárdenas For The Texas Tribune, Verónica G. Cárdenas For The Texas Tribune)

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Democrat Morgan LaMantia remains the winner of the race for a battleground state Senate seat in South Texas after a recount.

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Her Republican opponent, Adam Hinojosa, conceded Friday.

“This election was very close, and we fell just 0.19% short of victory,” Hinojosa said in a statement. “While we did not get the result we were hoping for in the Senate race and subsequent recount, I remain committed to advancing our shared values.”

LaMantia declared victory in the recount Wednesday, thanking election workers in a statement and saying they “have proven once again that the integrity of our electoral system is secure.”

Prior to the recount, LaMantia led by 659 votes out of 175,415 total. Hinojosa requested the recount late last month, narrowing it to three counties “in which there were large numbers of paper or mail-in ballots.” Those counties were Cameron, Hidalgo and Willacy.

The recount turned up a significant number of new votes in Cameron County — 128 — but not enough to change the outcome. LaMantia gained 73 votes there, while Hinojosa picked up 55. In Willacy County, Hinojosa got five new votes in the recount, while LaMantia received three. In Hidalgo County, the campaign withdrew its recount request before the county finished recounting.

The seat was open because its incumbent, Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville, is retiring. It was the only competitive state Senate seat left after redistricting. And Republicans had targeted it as part of their effort to capture new territory in South Texas, which underwhelmed expectations.

Hinojosa had the support of high-profile Republicans including former President Donald Trump. Hinojosa’s loss is a blemish on Trump’s otherwise perfect endorsement record this election cycle in Texas.

The recount cements the balance of power in the Senate ahead of the next legislative session, which begins Jan. 10. Republicans will control 19 out of 31 seats, one more than when they previously met.

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