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Updated: 8:37 p.m.
Rep. Solomon Ortiz, who is trailing in the initial vote counts for his re-election bid, has decided to ask for a manual recount, the Texas Democrat’s campaign announced Friday night.
“As I have said since Tuesday, we still need to ensure every vote is counted before determining the outcome of this race,” he sirraid in a statement. “However, since numerous voting irregularities have been reported in the 27th Congressional District of Texas race, I have also decided to ask for a manual recount. Just in the first days of counting, we’ve seen uncounted votes appear. It is my utmost desire to ensure that the votes of the people of South Texas be cast and counted and that no vote be left out. Therefore, we’ve begun putting together the documents necessary to request a recount.”
In an earlier statement, Ortiz cited a polling site that opened almost an hour late on Election Day and an early voting site that lost electrical power as voting irregularities. In addition, a misplaced bag of seven uncounted ballots — all for Ortiz — was found Thursday afternoon in a vault at the Nueces County Courthouse, the Brownsville (Texas) Herald reported Thursday. “These new votes prove our point that we need to stay the course and count every vote because there may be more,” Ortiz’s spokesman, Jose Borjon, said in a statement after the votes were counted.
Ortiz, who has served for 14 terms, is 800 votes behind Republican Blake Farenthold, a former radio talk-show host who did not have much outside support until the 60 Plus Association, a conservative advocacy group for seniors, made independent expenditures in the district in the last days of the race.
Recounts are not automatic in Texas. Ortiz was allowed to ask for the recount because some parts of his jurisdiction used electronic voting machines. If the recount doesn’t go his way, however, he will have to pay for the process.
Two other incumbent Democrats, Reps. Chet Edwards and Ciro Rodriguez, already lost in Texas.