(CBSDFW.COM) – The North Texas race for the open 24th congressional district is in the midst of ballot controversy nearly 24 hours after polls closed on Election Day.
Former Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne claimed victory for the seat early Wednesday, but her opponent, Candace Valenzuela, says all the votes haven’t been counted.
“Beth Van Duyne declared victory in this historic election to become only the second Republican woman elected to the House of Representatives from Texas,” a statement from Van Duyne’s campaign read.
Valenzuela’s campaign released a statement Wednesday afternoon, saying “This race is too close to call and thousands of votes are still being counted. Our campaign is committed to a full and complete count of all ballots so that every vote is counted and every voice is heard.”
The vote tally Tuesday evening showed Van Duyne squeezing by her Democratic challenger 48% to 47% — about 4,600 votes separated the two.
The 24th congressional district covers parts of Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties.
It’s ballots in Tarrant County — defective mail-in ballots — that have yet to be counted. Valenzuela’s campaign says the race is too close to call until all votes are counted.
“My sense is Beth Van Duyne is likely to win this. As I understand this, whatever ballots remain will have to break overwhelmingly for Candace Valenzuela to change the outcome,” said Matthew Wilson, an SMU political science professor.
“Given the pandemic, increased mail-in ballots, it would be very very much too soon to make a call on what the results will be, given the increase in mail-in ballots and the potential 5,000 votes could be made up in mail-in ballots,” said Brooke Lopez, co-founder of Lone Star Parity Project, a non-partisan advocacy group pushing for equal numbers of women representatives in politics.