MISSION, Texas – Longtime U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar defeated his Democratic Party primary election challenger Jessica Cisneros, but the margin of victory was much smaller than many would have predicted.

Cuellar, a native of Laredo, won 38,720 votes or 51.85 percent. Cisneros won 35,964 votes, or 48.15 percent.

The race received national attention because of the amount of money that came in from east Coast liberals for Cisneros. Cisneros, an attorney from Laredo who once worked for Cuellar, won the endorsement of progressives such as U.S. senators and presidential candidates Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and U.S. House Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.

Progressives criticized Cuellar, one of the most conservative Democrats in the House, for the number of times he voted with Republicans. Cuellar responded that he crossed the aisle to get things done for his district.

However, even some of Cuellar’s supporters believe he became complacent, thinking he could never be defeated, and as a result went further than other conservative Democrats. For example, in accepting campaign contributions from the private prison industry. They believe the election results will be a wake-up call and he will move more towards the mainstream of the Democratic Party.

It should be noted, however, that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a big Cuellar supporter and came down to Laredo to help his campaign a week and a half ago.

Cuellar has yet to speak to reporters about his victory.

A breakdown of the votes by county shows:

Cuellar picked up 15,853 votes in his home county of Webb. Cisneros, who is also from Webb County, picked up 12,900.

Bexar County went for Cisneros. She picked up 8,682 votes there, compared to Cuellar’s 6,088.

The third most populous county in CD 28 is Hidalgo. There, Cisneros also won, picking up 7,100 votes, compared to Cuellar’s 6,088.

But Starr County went firmly for the incumbent. Cuellar picked up 6,9870 votes there, compared to Cisneros’ 3,872.

Cuellar also won in Zapata County, picking up 2,783 votes, compared to Cisneros’ 1,083.

Cuellar also won in Atacosa and La Salle counties. McMullen County was tied, and Cisneros won in Wilson County.

Cuellar will face Republican Sandra Whitten in the general election in November.