EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — It’s been six weeks since El Paso City Council called for a Special Election to replace current City Representative Cassandra Hernandez after she triggered a “resign to run” clause by allegedly posting her intent to run for Mayor in 2020. The short-run to the November ballot hasn’t stopped one candidate from raising more than $22,000 in campaign contributions.
That’s according to campaign finance reports filed this week by the four candidates hoping to fill the City Council seat. The four candidates include Incumbent Cassandra Hernandez, Realtor Will Veliz, businessman Brooks Vandivort, and former YISD Trustee Ana Dueñez.
It all started back in August when District 3 City Representative Cassandra Hernandez’s Facebook page changed, appearing to announce her run for Mayor. According to Texas law, she would need to resign as a city rep in order to be able to run for mayor or any other office.
Hernandez maintained she did not intend for the page to be published and it was not done by her personally, but by a person with access to her Facebook page.
City Council ultimately decided that a Special Election must be held for the District 3 seat. Hernandez quickly filed paperwork to regain her seat which was determined to be legal by City Attorneys.
This week 30-day campaign finance reports were turned in, revealing an impressive $22, 352 campaign contribution haul for Will Veliz, the youngest of the four City Council candidates.
Veliz, an Eastwood High School graduate, earned major contributions from many Realtors in town. His largest campaign contributions, however, came from Paul Foster and Woody Hunt, who gave $2,500 each to Veliz’s campaign — the most of any single contributor.
Meanwhile, Hernandez earned $12,575 in campaign contributions. Those contributions include $500 from former City Council Representative Steve Ortega and $2,500 from the El Paso Municipal Police Officers Association.
Hernandez earned endorsements from the Police and Fire Associations while Veliz has earned an endorsement from the Greater El Paso Association of Realtors.
By contrast, the other two candidates in the race for District 3 have raised much less — Dueñez reports zero dollars in campaign contributions. Vandivort reported $1,150 in contributions, he also indicates a $4,600 personal loan to his campaign to cover costs.
District 3 covers portions of East El Paso and the Lower Valley, including the current Cielo Vista Walmart site.
Early voting begins Monday, October 21 and runs through Friday, November 1. Election day is Tuesday, November 5.