Well the fact that the District Attorney, Tax Assessor-Collector, and constable races may be the most lively races in this election cycle, demonstrates just how nothing significant happened yesterday as the filing deadline expired to appear on the March Primary ballot.
Several of the judges that are up for re-election showed up to the Democratic Party headquarters waiting to see if they had opponents. There were no surprises on the judicial front.
District Attorney Jaime Esparza is facing two challengers in the race, Yvonne Rosales and Leonard Morales. Esparza has been in office more than 20 years and both candidates are older than Esparza was when he replaced a long-term incumbent. His challengers are stronger than his previous ones. Neither of his candidates are certifiably insane and at least one has been working hard and started pretty early. Obviously both Rosales and Morales have a steep hill to climb but a run-off is possible if a few things bounce their way. Its a long shot, but Esparza is facing a stronger challenge than he thinks he is.
I think he's the step-son of a prominent lawyer here in town that once ran for a seat on the bench. Gonzalez is young and on his website describes himself as a "charismatic professional". But I think he's making the same mistake Hector H. Lopez made in thinking charisma will help him win a countywide election without a support base. Its always hard for young candidates to start off by running for a countywide race first.
But the bigger problem for GXG is the fact that there is already a candidate with the same last name on the ballot running for the same seat.
The appointee to fill the rest of the term is Ruben Gonzalez and he is running for the full term. RG (I really want to call him RG3 but haven't found a reason to yet) has been running for this seat for months along with Siria Rocha. So why GXG would roll the dice and run against RG on the same ballot boggles the mind. Both candidates are going to have to work that much harder to get their share of a vote they are likely going to split.
Its hard enough to get a voter to remember your last name when you are a down ballot race that no one understands nor gives two shits about. No one knows who RG is - fewer know who GXG is. No one knows Siria Rocha either for that matter. But when you have two candidates with the same name it causes confusion for voters and one of two things will happen - they will either under vote so that they don't vote for the wrong Gonzalez, or they will vote for Rocha.
Both scenarios benefit Rocha.
The problem for GXG is that both candidates have been working on this campaign for many months. RG and Rocha are both veterans and both have a degree. One important advantage RG has over GXG is the fact that he has one of the best campaign managers in town running his ground game. RG is the current office holder and his campaign manager very skillfully added the word "Keep" to RG's materials.
So who wins when the two male candidates with the same last name split their vote? The Hispanic female candidate Siria Rocha. Rocha was just pushed to front-runner status because of the happy coincidence of both male candidates having the same last name. She also has all the boxes checked. Hispanic (check) Female (check) Business Owner (check) Degree (check) Experience (check) Veteran (check). The interesting thing about the last one is that I don't know of any other female veteran ever elected in El Paso unless it was a really long time ago.
I don't know GXG - he could be the most qualified person for the race and the smartest kid in class when it comes to office policy.
But having the same name as the office holder and knowing that the office holder has been campaigning for months and then still throwing your hat in the ring defies logic.
That is probably the most that will ever get written about that race which underscores my point about this election cycle.
Moving along - HD 77 and HD 75 are the races that will get all the money and produce all the mail. HD 77 feature Lina Ortega versus fellow attorney Adolfo Lopez. If Lopez gets enough funding he should win. He's the Forma candidate, he's smart, does really well with people one-on-one, and is extremely likable. But I'm hearing the funding from the traditional sources might not be there like it has been in the past.
HD 75 is the valley's main event. This time the Forma candidate is at a disadvantage. Anytime you are expecting a 70 year old to defeat woman in her 30's its a tall order. Forma's candidate in 77 has already highlighted his opponents age. The From a candidate, Chente Quintanilla, is open for that attack.
You have the former state rep Chente Quintanilla, who many in the valley still think is the state rep versus the current state rep, Mary Gonzalez, who is probably the candidate from the valley that is the most beholden to special interests of any candidate who has ever represented the area since Texas joined the Union.
Thats not an exaggeration.
In short, the race is hers to lose. She may not lose this election, but her vulnerabilities will be exposed and the next time she gets an opponent it will likely be an Hispanic female who is closer to her age.
The St. Jude Candidates
Congressman O'Rourke will be facing a perennial candidate for office, Ben Mendoza. Mendoza runs all the time and last ran against O'Rourke in 2012. This is going to be another beat down for Mendoza and is proof that anyone can run. O'Rourke is going to win big.
A guy named Tony Quintanilla filed to run against County Commissioner Vince Perez. I'm sure he was put up to run by some interest group who's profitability was affected by Perez' policy reforms at the county. But they should've done a better job of fishing out a candidate though. Quintanilla doesn't appear to have any voting history.
Like at all.
And certainly none in the valley. And no one seems to know him in Socorro. He apparently lived on Yandell in a home that I assume is his parent's home but there is a Socorro address listed. I checked with former State Rep Chente Quintanilla and he made it clear that Tony is not a relative and that he is supporting Commissioner Perez.
And now, today's cat video: