EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The El Paso City Council will hold a special election in November to replace Rep. Cassandra Hernandez.
“All of the decisions today have just been very unfortunate,” Hernandez said.
The special election was approved with a 4-3 vote, which Hernandez was not allowed to vote, Tuesday during the City Council meeting.
The City Attorney had previously said Hernandez effectively resigned when a Facebook page announcing a run for mayor was temporarily posted.
“The law from what our attorney has told us is very clear. It was an automatic resignation that triggered the “resign-to-run”. So then we have the authority. We have the obligation to call for a special election once there is a vacancy,” Claudia Ordaz Perez said.
The City Charter says a council member cannot hold office while seeking another elected position.
However, Hernandez continued to claim the page was not authorized by her nor was an intentional announcement.
Constituents at the meeting spoke up for Hernandez during the meeting and said the vote was a “petty call”.
“I am very disappointed with the decision that the council made today to make a special election. Cassandra was voted in by her constituents. She’s doing a great job and I totally disagree with what they’re doing to her. They’re making her feel like she’s not doing her job,” Ana Espinoza said.
Tuesday’s meeting was to determine if a special election was needed and when it would be held. City Reps. Alexsandra Annello, Isabel Salcido and Peter Svarzbein voted against the special election, which will be held alongside a bond election.
Ordaz Perez said the including the special election to the ballot on November 5th will avoid extra costs to taxpayers, “We just in essence put that in our November 5th. We’re already going out for an election so there will be hardly any costs, maybe some soft costs. As far as over $200,000 that’s no longer a question.”
Until then, Hernandez will still be on council until the seat is filled.
“Please count on me to be a professional and to continue to work with your districts and your priorities,” Hernandez said.
City staff said anyone interested in representing district 3 can apply starting Tuesday until September 26th.