EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The City of El Paso issued a statement Thursday evening stating Rep. Cassandra Hernandez is permitted by law to run in the special election for District 3.
In a statement, a City Attorney Karla Nieman said:
“Pursuant to state law, she is required to run to regain the seat she vacated.”
The question was raised whether Hernandez was within her legal rights to run when she filed an application on September 10 to run in the special election for the District 3 seat.
As KTSM previously reported, City Council voted 4-3 on Tuesday to hold a special election in November to replace Rep. Cassandra Hernandez.
This vote came after the City Attorney had previously said Hernandez effectively resigned when a Facebook page announcing a run for mayor was temporarily posted.
Hernandez said the since-deleted post was unauthorized and posted by one of her supporters.
KTSM spoke with Hernandez on Thursday, where she said she was committed to serving the Lower Valley and East El Paso district until the end of her term and said she did not agree with City Council’s decision which she was unable to vote in.
“My attorneys disagree we have been able to identify case law, opinions from the Texas Attorney General on what stipulates an official announcement, this Facebook post that was unauthorized and not directed by me is not an official announcement,” Hernandez said.
She added she had not heard from the City after she filed her application on September 10, but said she was within her legal rights to run.
“If I am not allowed to place my name on the ballot for this upcoming election I think this city needs to look closely at their governance, look very closely at the mayor and City Council because they are attacking our democracy as we know it,” Hernandez said.
The statement by Nieman states:
As you all know Representative Hernandez submitted her application with the City Clerk, on Tuesday September 10, to run for the vacancy in District 3.City Attorney Karla Nieman
Pursuant to the Election Code, the City Clerk is designated to receive applications. The Clerk has the obligation to review applications and make a determination of eligibility. The Clerk’s review of the application shall be completed not later than the fifth day after the date the application is received. The requirements to be eligible to be a candidate for office state that a person be a U.S. Citizen, be 18 years old or over, be mentally competent, have not been convicted of a felony, and reside in the City for 12 months and 6 months in the district.
The Council has been following the legal process required by Representative Hernandez’s decision to announce her candidacy for mayor. The City Council was required to call the special election to fill the vacancy.
City staff said anyone interested in representing District 3 can apply until September 26th.