EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The crowded mayoral race is now down to the two top candidates.
Former Mayor Oscar Leeser received 43 percent of the votes and will take on incumbent Mayor Dee Margo, who received about 25 percent.
The community has recently seen a divide in local leadership, and both candidates said they want to lead the community in the right direction, while touting past accomplishments during their time in office.
“It’s a focus on the major issues. He’s going to have to defend his term, and I’m happy to defend mine,” Margo said.
On Tuesday night, Margo and Leeser knew they were likely going head-to-head in a runoff for the city’s big seat, Mayor of El Paso.
“A lot of what we did last year should’ve been done during his term, and it wasn’t. So we’re having to deal with the things he was unable to do,” Margo said.
“You’ll see that the trust I built with our citizens back in ’13 to ’17, that will continue to grow. Again I’m humbled that it looks like I will have an opportunity to earn their business and their trust,” Leeser shared.
Margo reflected on some of the accomplishments El Paso has seen during his tenure. “The Amazon distribution center coming here, TJ Maxx and what they’re doing, 950 jobs and 150 million in capital investment. We’ve added more jobs in my three-and-a-half years than my predecessor did in his four.”
One of the top issues for both candidates is how to handle the ongoing COVID-19 surge in El Paso and keeping businesses open — especially small businesses — while keeping residents safe.
“We have our priorities, which is COVID-19, and first of all make sure we keep our businesses open and keep people working, but we need to make sure that we put safety in front of profit so we will work to advocate and make sure we get funding to our community,” Leeser explained.
Margo said it’s difficult to weigh both concerns.
“We’re walking a tight wire right now. Between our physical health and our financial health. And I don’t believe a small bookstore is causing the spread. Irrespective of what others may say,” Margo said.
Leeser’s campaign told KTSM 9 News that the runoff election is expected to take place Dec. 12. Early voting will begin Nov. 25 and will skip holidays, then pick back up Nov. 28.