Well, other than Claudia Ordaz-Perez's last election in which she also got 72% of the vote.
Ordaz-Perez, for which I am just going to abbreviate it as COP at this point, earned 72% of the vote for the second time, defeating her opponent by almost 45 points. Normally you'd expect some erosion of support over time of an elected official but COP's first election netted her a voting percentage in the high 60's - which politically speaking is a major ass-whooping - and has gone up to the 70's in two subsequent election cycles. I don't know that another elected official has achieved such an accomplishment.
Actually I do know - and I can't find another that has.
COP has 18 precincts in her district - 9 north of the freeway and 9 south of the freeway. She won every single precinct convincingly. It wasn't even close in one single precinct. Even in her poorest-performing precinct her margin of victory was over 20 points.
That was the precinct she came the closest to losing. Let that set in for a minute.
There wasn't a high undervote. She wasn't the first name on the ballot. Voters went in and chose her over her opponent in shockingly high numbers.
Despite the diversity of the district, she had equally strong support in the barrio portion as well as the eastside, with the valley having slightly stronger support.
In the 9 valley precincts she was over 70% in all of the precincts except one, in which she had 67% of the vote and had a few precincts were she was pushing near 80% of the vote.
All of that happened without COP ever hitting her opponent. Trust me, there were plenty of messages she could have leveraged against him in mail or lit in a block walk. But despite her opponent going negative on her (which he had to do by the way), she completely obliterated him in the polls. Had she educated voters about her opponent, she may have reached 80% of the vote.
Let me put that into perspective. As I've written before, a 10 point win in an election is considered a solid win. Anything more than that is pretty much a blow-out. To illustrate my point, let me just select a couple candidates in another election for comparative purposes. I'll pick someone at random, like say, oh I don't know...Jud Burgess.
Burgess took on an incumbent in a recent election as well. He took on a political wounded incumbent in Jim Tolbert. And as you can see by the results, he was trounced. Tolbert got more than double the voters Burgess did and was well out of contention for even a run-off appearance. In fact, Burgees was taken out to the woodshed and was trounced by Annello by more than 20 points.
Again, COP defeated Stoltz by almost 45 points.
By any measure, that level of support is a mandate from her constituents. COP is the only incumbent who isn't in a run-off, the only candidate in the municipal elections endorsed by the Times that actually won, she was never shy about what policies should stood for.
Policies that her constituents overwhelmingly support. Since she's the first of her colleagues that currently sit on council to win re-election during the general election cycle and did so with such overwhelming support, it makes COP that much stronger than the rest of her colleagues. She can lead on basically any issue she wants at this point because her third and final election to be on council had such strong support from all parts of her district. Thats a huge vote of confidence from her constituents.
Let me tell you a quick anecdote about election day that underscores the support she has. COP and her opponent Eric Stoltz were at Sierra Vista Elementary to end the day. That polling site hosts three precincts and they are all high-performing precincts. At the end of the evening, there were 300 people standing in line out of the door to vote. Not sure how many were inside, but there were 300 from the entrance of the door until the end of the line. Actually a few more than that, I stopped counting at 300 and that line held that way for over 90 minutes.
Stoltz had family members present with him and COP had a poll-sitter and her husband Commissioner Perez with her when I arrived at the location. COP had her poll-sitter working the line handing people lit and giving a small pitch to voters standing in line. Stoltz and Ordaz-Perez were closer to the front of the line. Essentially they each had an equal opportunity to talk to voters since the line wasn't moving very fast for so long. Stoltz would deliver his message - which was mostly negative about COP and her votes or positions on issues. Actually he mostly just lied a lot about COP's positions. Or he would tell voters that the district needed a "younger voice" on city council. That line works well when you have a huge age difference in candidates. But when the incumbent is a homeowner in her early 30's and you're in your mid 20's and still live at home with your parents, that message falls flat.
COP spoke to voters last. She introduced herself to voters and after telling them who she was asked them if they had any questions for her and told them about what she'd done and updated them on the latest developments on a lot of issues. No hard sell, no negative message against Stoltz. Just a handshake and her record.
What did Commissioner Perez do while all this was happening? He drove to a convenience store around the corner, picked up 7 cases of bottled water and he and I went down the line offering voters a bottle of water while they were waiting in that long line. No sales pitch, didn't even mention a candidate. Just thanked voters for staying in line and gave water bottles to thirsty voters and answered the occasional voting question like if they'd be able to vote if they weren't inside the polling place by 7pm and what forms of ID would be accepted etc.
The result? COP carried those precincts with over 70% of the vote by standing on her record.
Whats Next for Ordaz-Perez?
Based on her performance in this election - a strong turnout with a low undervote - she set the bar for the rest of council now that the elections will be in November. Which makes her that much stronger on council because none of her colleagues will be able to approach that level of support and they probably all know it.
For the next couple years everyone is going to be playing the Guess-What-Claudia-Gonna-Do-Next game. She's essentially viable for whatever she wants to run for locally.
Time is on her side. She's very young so she can play long-ball.
El Paso has only had a few Latino mayors and never a Latina mayor. Latina mayors of large cities are going to be the future. With at least three of the city council districts being somewhat of a mirror of District 6 along with strong support on the eastside being the fourth district she's likely have support in before she even started, you gotta figure that she might be thinking about mayor some day.
Well know the Jose Rodriguez will be retiring from the senate soon. He actually donated to Ordaz-Perez's opponent. Its doubtful she'd run for anything soon but that race is Cesar Blanco's race to lose anyway.
That would open up his house seat. Can't see anyone that lives in the area that would lock horns against COP if she wanted that seat, especially given that show of strength last week.
Hell COP could bide her time and be a strong congressional candidate whenever Escobar is done serving in congress. That would make two people in that household that are potentially strong congressional candidates.
She could just decide that she wants to raise a family and go off into the private sector.
It is really up to her what she wants to do, but everyone will be planning for her going forward.
Obviously Eric Stoltz for his abysmal performance. With a recent arrest record, and the fact that he's actually only a freshman at the school he attends, he's several years away from being viable for any office run.
Max Grossman - again. His candidate got waxed - and so Max got waxed. The district 5 and 6 outcomes were the most gacho rejections of his policies and slammed the door on the idea that Grossman is even the least bit influential. After outing himself as a conservative extremist who was anti-Beto and anti Democratic Party, he just showed himself to be a liability. His support was literally the kiss of death.
But I actually think the biggest loser in this particular race is Rep Alexsandra Annello. Aside from being the least effective member of council before this election, she is further weakened by this election result. Annello was assisting Stoltz with his campaign. She solicited support from a former city representative and even helped with things like Stoltz's logo. Hell, she even appointed him to a city commission. When you help someone against your colleague, you damn sure better make sure your candidate wins because if you don't, things are going to get pretty uncomfortable if the person you have to work with wins.
Especially when that colleague wins reelection the way COP won.