Author’s note: This article was updated to correct the name of Yvonne Rosales on the first paragraph.
El Paso voters are casting votes to select who will represent them at Commissioners Court Precinct #3. The incumbent, Vince Perez is being challenged by new-comer Iliana Holguin, an immigration attorney. Other important races include, Yvonne Rosales (updated on July 10, 2020 to correct name error) running against James Montoya and Marlene Gonzalez is challenging Laura Strathmann. Although there are other races, these three are the most visible to local voters. Early voting ends on Friday.
Historically, the incumbent loses in a runoff election. But historical outcomes cannot be counted on because Covid-19 has disrupted the election cycle. Additionally, the traditional GOTV model has been upset because of social distancing and questions about mail-in voting versus on-site voting remained unsettled until late in the game. As if that wasn’t enough, the date of the runoff remained uncertain for some time.
In the race to replace Jaime Esparza as the District Attorney, neither Yvonne Rosales nor James Montoya are incumbents, but Montoya represents the current incumbent, Jaime Esparza. Early voting numbers show women are casting more votes than men, giving Rosales a potential lead. However, their race is too close to call.
In the case of Gonzalez versus Strathmann, it appears that Strathmann will come up short when the final vote is cast. Strathamann is the incumbent and incumbents have a difficult time winning in run-offs. Additionally, a videotape of Strathmann taking her opponent’s election sign and a second video showing that she attempted to cover up the theft of the political sign may influence the votes cast on Election Day.
Although the pandemic has played a part in the runoff election, it appears that it hasn’t affected turnout too much. In the Holguin-Perez race, the turn out is around 3,500 which is a little higher than expected. It is likely that on Tuesday up to another 3,000 votes will be cast in that race.
If that remains true then the challenger, Iliana Holguin, has the edge.
Exit polling shows that Holguin leads somewhere with 53% and 58% of the votes cast.
Vince Perez, himself, seems to have accepted the possibility of losing the race. Poll sitters working for Perez have complained about not getting paid. Perez recently canceled signage because of the lack of funds.
Early voting ends on Friday. Election Day is on Tuesday, July 14, 2020.