The Latest: West advances to runoff in US Senate race

March 4, 2020 GMT

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Latest on Tuesday’s primary election in Texas (all times local):

4:45 p.m.

Texas Sen. Royce West will advance to a primary runoff against Air Force veteran MJ Hegar for the Democratic nomination to face U.S. Sen. John Cornyn.

Third-place Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez conceded Wednesday as West finished about 1% ahead of her in results that were delayed from Tuesday’s primary.

Ramirez is a Latina activist who founded the political group Jolt Initiative. She says in a statement that she ran her campaign “unapologetically, and we all have so much to be proud of for what we’ve accomplished.”

Hegar and West will face off in May.

Cornyn remains a formidable incumbent in Texas, where a Democrat hasn’t won a U.S. Senate seat since the 1970s. He was the No. 2 Republican in the chamber until this year and has never faced a serious re-election challenge since joining the Senate in 2002.

9:45 a.m.

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar has defeated a 26-year-old immigration attorney who mounted a closer-than-expected primary challenge for his South Texas district.

Cuellar won Tuesday’s primary election over Jessica Cisneros, who once interned for him and accused the longtime moderate of being out of touch with his border district.

Cisneros was backed by Justice Democrats, the progressive group allied with Bernie Sanders that helped now U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez win a shocking primary upset two years ago.

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Cuellar and his family are fixtures in Laredo, the border city that anchors the district. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi traveled to Laredo a week before the primary to support Cuellar, who sits on the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

Cuellar originally dismissed Cisneros as a noisy outsider but toward the end ran TV ads as the threat of her candidacy became clear.