I'll get to the national stuff in another post, but as they say, all politics is local so I'll start there and the next post will be the losers.
Sheriff Richard Wiles
This is obvious, it was essentially the biggest race of the night after the presidential race - and it was over early. Wiles completely demolished his opponent winning 184 of 191 precincts in El Paso County. Like I told Marco Camarillo - probably the loudest smack-talker for the sheriff's union, Buchino didn't win a single precinct south for the freeway from downtown to the freeway. Hell Buchino almost didn't win a precinct anywhere east and south of the New Mexico state line. More on the sheriff's union in the losers section...
I've been critical of the sheriff on matters of policy - and some of you may have forgotten that it was his department that actually conducted the investigation on me when I went through my divorce. I worked for an elected official that had a somewhat adversarial relationship with the sheriff. So if there was anyone out there that could've been the guy to spend all day hammering the sheriff, it'd be me. But through my interactions with the department, particularly watching him advocate for his department and his deputies, I grew to respect him as an administrator and leader of his department.
El Pasoan's overwhelmingly made the right choice last night. His margin was so large that it sent a very loud message about the level of support he has in this community.
State Rep Joe Moody
In another beat-down, State Rep Joe Moody also won last night, by an even wider margin. His district swings a bit more red during gubernatorial elections, but his support from the westside has congealed and that seat will be blue for as long as Joe Moody wants to hold that seat. May change if there is a weaker Dem one day, but Moody is young and has a long legislative career ahead of him. Pickett will one day pass the baton on to him.
Westsiders also sent a clear message about their satisfaction with their state representative.
He was in the neighborhood of 90% of the vote with two opponents. Granted one was a Green Party candidate and the other was a Libertarian, Jaime O. Perez who probably didn't even carry the Libertarian vote.
Overwhelming support for the Congressman. He should stop all this silliness of running for US Senate and continue to serve this community. Also, I take back what I said in the past about Jaime O. Perez should quit running for office. He should keep running as long as possible. I rather enjoy watching this community completely reject him. Oh and I take back what I said about Beto being as viable for US Senate as Jaime O. Perez was for Beto's congressional seat. Beto would certainly break single-digits. And carry more of the Libertarian vote now that I think about it.
El Pasoans voted for the largest bond ever attempted in the history of El Paso County. There will be some real belly aching going on as this bond gets going because people are going to see the huge disparities in how the money will be spent, but thats something they are going to have to just swallow. You can't say it wasn't a majority of the voters who passed it because it clearly was. You can't say it was just a small portion of the electorate because it clearly wasn't. It passed and it is a mandate.
Dori Fenenbock took a big political gamble by being the face of the bond. She and the bond came out on top. So in that sense she's a winner. But we all know she has future aspirations and there is a bit of sobering news for Fenenbock that she needs to understand. Of the 21 precincts where the bond failed, 13 of them were on the westside. So yes it was a victory but 2/3 of the losing precincts were in her back yard.
But the clear winner from the EPISD Bond, and trust me there were some losers, was Mike Apodaca. Its quite a feather in his hat to be able to say he passed the largest bond ever attempted in El Paso County.
Took the title from another vato I know.
From a strategic perspective, Apodaca probably would've preferred this election to happen in any other election cycle than this one because it would've been easier to predict who was going to come out to vote and easier to target those voters. This was essentially the exact worst election cycle to run a bond of that size. There was significant opposition to the bond and quite frankly there is no way in hell the bond would've passed without Apodaca's field work.
I've seen this movie before, the board members, and committee members, and the superintendent will all strut around like they are the reason the bond passed, but the real reason it passed was because of a low-key experienced field guy who over works his canvassers and has a weird fascination with his pet turtle.
Just kidding Mike. (about the turtle anyway) Great job.
The Rodriguez's are the winners in Socorro last night. Current Socorro Mayor Jesus Ruiz lost his bid for reelection to current City Rep Gloria Rodriguez. Rodriguez is a political survivor and worked hard.
Councilman At-Large Rene Rodriguez also won last night and will continue to serve in that capacity. Under Socorro's form of government they have a Mayor that only votes during ties but represents constituents across the city and a Councilperson At-Large that represents the entire city and votes.
Fabens is a big winner because they re-elected Orlando Flores to the school board. He's an experienced and intelligent board member who makes thoughtful decisions. He made easy work of a race I thought might be closer. He won with a mandate and the community of Fabens will be better off for it.
Customers of Lower Valley Water District
This one is really inside baseball but if you know anything about water issues in the lower valley, nearly every bad water situation in that part of the county has something to do with that, what many call dysfunctional, entity. It provides water and trash service to communities like Socorro, Clint, San Eli, Sparks and a few other colonies.
Water districts and school board races are way more important than people really understand because they have far more to do with your daily lives than what happens in DC.
There 5 candidates running for 2 seats on the Lower Valley Water District - 4 of the 5 were named Dave.
David Carrasco who has held several positions at LVW will return to the board and Dave Armstrong was defeated. That is a development that should make General Manager Jack Alayyan a little nervous. One guy is an adversary and the guy that lost was an ally. Sources indicate that there have been several issues related to conduct by Mr. Alayyan that have cost the water district money including an alleged sexual harassment settlement.
At any rate, the customers of Lower Valley Water are winners in this election.
In the only remotely competitive constable precinct in the county, Constable Angie Sommers defeated King Merritt.
Armando Rodriguez won another term on the CISD Board of Trustees. Despite having a negative story (really, really, really bad one) on the front page above the fold, he somehow won reelection. Most of the time a story like that one ends someone's political career, even if it is just a school board race.
They made a lot of money off of the EPISD Bond that AFT Union Boss Ross Moore swore to his membership they wouldn't be involved in...
The Big Unknown
Village of Vinton
With the departure of Mayor Praino, it is unclear what direction the small hamlet on the westside of the county will choose for itself. But it looks like a brand new slate of elected officials in Vinton of who have a big job cut out for themselves. Mayor Praino has left a mark on that community and this county. She was a steady hand in an often turbulent town that at times made even Socorro blush.
And whatever their proposition was, it only won by 5 votes! I'm on a mission to find out what it was.