The outcome of the Harris County judge’s race won’t likely be known until Wednesday, as hundreds of precincts still remain uncounted.

Several lawsuits over polling location hours, and a four-hour delay in the county’s vote tabulation process resulted in a trickle of election results throughout the night.

Just before midnight Wednesday, incumbent Judge Lina Hidalgo addressed supporters at the Harris County Democratic Party headquarters, claiming an 11,000-vote lead in the early vote totals over her Republican rival, Alexandra de Moral Mealer.

“We’re cautiously optimistic,” Hidalgo said, before a packed crowd of Democratic leaders and supporters.

An hour before, revelers at Mealer’s watch party at Kirby Ice House began to dissipate when it became apparent a winner would not be declared Tuesday night.

Gallery Furniture owner Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, who appeared in several television ads endorsing Mealer, showed up just before 11 p.m. Tuesday.

The campaign said a short time later that Mealer was done speaking for the night, and would go home to await the results.

The race for Harris County judge was expected to go down to the wire after a hard-fought campaign to lead the country’s third most populous county.

“It’s a race that’s too close to call,” Rice University political science professor Mark Jones said. “Hidalgo still is the favorite, in a sense that she’s in a blue county and she has the support of Democratic activists, she hasn’t lost that.”

Throughout the day Tuesday, we saw enthusiasm as voters turned out to cast a ballot in one of the most watched races in Texas.

The final year of Hidalgo’s first term as county judge was marred by controversy. In April, three of Judge Hidalgo’s staffers were indicted as part of an investigation into how a smaller firm was awarded an $11 million COVID-19 vaccine outreach contract.

Then last month, Hidalgo was unable to pass a new county tax rate when two Republican county commissioners blocked the vote by repeatedly skipping Commissioners Court.

Mealer, an Army veteran and energy finance advisor, hammered Hidalgo on several issues throughout the campaign, especially on crime.

Mealer said if she was elected, she would aggressively fund the criminal justice system in Harris County, and put an end to what she called a revolving door at the courthouse.

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