There will be a bunch of people line-up to take a stab at Marisa Marquez soon to be vacant seat in the Texas Legislature.
Expect everyone who has ever run for city council in the area to run.
Not sure what the new Chairman of the El Paso Republican Party is thinking, but there is no way in hell that seat is going to be competitive for the Republicans. Not sure if he was just trying to be optimistic so we will chalk it up to a rookie mistake. I hope someone pulls him aside and shows him voter data. The GOP have the Precinct 4 seat on commissioner's court and a JP seat...thats it. And that is all they are going to have for the next few years. Until they lose those too.
Anywho, back to the replacements.
Their will be a clown car of candidates to replace Marquez so ridiculous it will rival the GOP's current stop of presidential hopefuls.
There will be several people who aren't your usual suspects of candidates that also throw in their hat. Pretty sure the next rep will come from that group of candidates. There's no way Marquez kept a wrap on her retirement and didn't plan a successor with Forma and the TLR.
But here are a few names that I think you might also hear get thrown around. I'll list the most-viable two first, then the next two most-viable, and then the dark horses.
Susie Byrd has won multiple elections in the area both as a city rep and as a school board member. None of her elections have ever been close either. She'd be an absolute contender for the seat. But I spoke to her and she is not interested in the seat and is not running. So you crazies can stop running with that one, she is not going to run for it.
Jose Landeros has quietly been the guy behind a lot of races in town. All winners I might add. Super smart, usually the brightest person in the room on policy, is someone the money people would get behind, life-long resident of the district, not afraid to take on any opponent, and most importantly, knows how to win better than any other person even thinking about the position.
But he also knows how shitty of a job state rep is. You get paid next to nothing unless a company or an institution gives you a fake job but is really just paying you to be a state rep. Plus, you're relevant every two years and when you are relevant its on Planet Austin. Might as well be Pluto. (Is it a planet again? I can't keep up with that stuff)
The next two most viable are Lyda Ness and Sergio Lewis. I'd put Aaron Barraza in this mix if he were still in town but I'm not sure if he is. Relax before your heads explode and hear me out. Yes Lyda has had some difficulties and those haven't gone away and yes the black-eye and police report thing happened. But there has been a lot of money put into sending mail with her name and face on it to residents in the district. In a race that is assured to be a run-off, someone with a lot of name ID with voters will get a substantial chunk of voters. Especially if she can get the same financial support behind her. That is a big if, but as the herd starts to thin out, Ness becomes more and more of a viable option. Same for Barraza.
Lewis is slightly different. He has name ID and would also be positioned to get a lot of voters.But name ID only gets you so far. Its doable but a lot of things have to happen in order for him to be a viable option. First, lets be real. He's always faced marginal opposition at best and when he was faced with real opposition he lost. But his name has been on a ballot in that area for years. He has the ability to finance a lot of the campaign on his own, although state races are usually triple-digit. So he might need some financial help. He would also have to actually work hard at campaigning. An incumbent with name ID in the area for years didn't get beat by a white guy who has only been in El Paso for a few years and didn't put up a single sign because Lewis worked hard. But if he hard the right work ethic, ground game, and team behind him he could be a factor.
Alfredo Longoria, former head of the El Paso Young Democrats and long-time Democratic Party operative, has the ability to completely self-fund a race for the state house. He lives in the district and knows that you need a good ground game, mail program, and team to win. Doesn't have the name ID the others do but he's smart enough to make something happen.
Mike Apodaca, another big presence in the Democratic Party (actually more so than Alfredo and I put together) is also a dark horse candidate with the capacity to win. He's run successful campaigns for years and has won a state rep race. Yes, he's one of the people that ran for city council previously and lost but the timing wasn't right for him. He has more credibility than any of the other municipal candidates that will no-doubt throw their hat in the ring. The fact that Longoria and Apodaca know how to win races make them a really big factor. But, I am personally hoping Apodaca runs for the El Paso County Democratic Party Chair because while that job sucks too, he would prevent Holguin from taking over the Party and I think Apodaca would make the local Party more relevant than it has been in the past.
Hector H. Lopez. Okay bear with me for a minute. I know what you're thinking. He doesn't have a snow ball's chance in hell. Too hoity-toity, too sweater-vesty, too "big idea" "vision", etc etc. And yes, he really under-performed in a mayoral bid. Terrible idea to run citywide when you have no name ID, experience, base, or money. And yes, he killed himself by surrounding himself with people who wouldn't know how to win a campaign if their life depended on it like Hector Montes. Who's record for futility remains intact, like his toothbrush.
But Lopez is a smart guy and I'll bet her's learned more form a defeat than anyone else has. Sure its an uphill battle and he is in danger of being portrayed as a title-chaser, but if you put Hector Lopez in a room with the TTLA and Sergio Lewis, you know Lopez would walk out of that room with a check. He has to ditch his previous campaign team, get rid of directors of internal and external communications, and get some block-walkers to chew up some turf and he could be right in the mix depending on the field of candidates.
THE X FACTOR
There are some unknowns everyone should consider before they get too excited about the races though. For starters, you don't know if anyone is going to move in the district to run. Maybe a Niland or a Julio Diaz move in the district to run. Both would be game changers because Niland has put a lot of money into her brand and since mayor is out of the picture now a stab at state rep wouldn't be so far fetched. Although moving might be. Julio Diaz has shown he knows how to win a contested Democratic Primary and he beat an Hispanic female to do it. That vato block-walked a' madre for that primary. He was 50 Shades of Brown by the time he was done. He started off around Alejandro Fernandez and he ended up somewhere near Celia Cruz when he was done block-walking. And he did it on a tight budget.
No matter what happens, you'll start to see people get their ducks in a row and by late August or Labor Day, they will be coming out of the wood work to run.