Winner of TX-23 Republican race still undetermined

TX-23 — It was a nail-biting election night on July 14 when Tony Gonzales edged out Raul Reyes by a mere seven votes, leaving the race for the Republican candidacy for TX-23 too close to call. By today at the latest, the 29 Republican party chairs in the counties that lie fully or partially within the bounds of Texas’ 23rd Congressional District must complete their canvassing – counting and confirming the final vote counts.

According to election code, a local canvass is finalized when the county chair digitally certifies the canvass report on the secretary of state’s website. From there, those counts are reported to the state party chair, who has until no later than Saturday, August 1 to sign and certify the canvasses. For Gonzales and Reyes, only after the certification of the canvass can whoever ends up on the bottom request an official recount.

Gonzales was quick to declare “Victory for Team Tony” when the preliminary votes were announced July 14. “With 100% reporting, the Texas Secretary of State’s office is showing that we won the primary runoff by seven (7) votes. We will be working to protect the integrity of every legal vote until the canvas is complete over the next week,” his campaign wrote.

This week, as the larger counties began entering their completed canvass counts ahead of the July 23 deadline, Gonzales’ vote count grew slightly, reaching a 23 vote lead. As provisional, mail in, overseas and military ballots were all being accounted for in such a narrow race, the seven vote election night lead was likely to change.

Gonzales’ campaign spokesperson, Matt Mackowiak declared that the will of Republican voters was clear from the 23 vote lead, and turned his attention to the general election’s Democratic candidate Gina Ortiz Jones, who he called a “puppet” of House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and a “socialist.”

Jones already considered Gonzales her likely opponent by July 3, when President Donald Trump endorsed him, replying on social media, “I’m a proud first-gen American, daughter of a single mom, and Iraq and Air Force veteran. And unlike him, I’m running in #TX23 to fight for affordable health care, good jobs, and an economy that works for everyone.”

Reyes was not so quick to throw in the towel on the primary race though. “We’re pretty convinced that when all those provisional, mail in ballots come in, overseas, military come in, we’re going to be on top, so we’re looking forward to that as well,” Reyes said on a conservative talk show program on Saturday.

Both Gonzales and Reyes are military veterans, as Reyes served in the Air Force as an officer and Gonzales was a cryptologist in the Navy.

After the count is certified on August 1, it is possible that the trailing candidate will request a recount, where vote totals will be recertified and a Republican primary victor may finally be determined.