EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Early voting for runoffs is underway in El Paso.

There are three El Paso City Council races in the runoffs including District 1, District 6, and District 8.

The race for District 8 has two current El Paso City Council Chief of Staff vying for the spot.

Candidate Chris Canales is the Chief of Staff for Cissy Lizarraga who currently holds the seat for District 8 but did not run for re-election.

Candidate Bettina Olivares is the Chief of Staff for the City Representative for District 3 Cassandra Hernandez.

With both having experience in El Paso City Government, we asked the candidates what sets them apart.


“The city hasn’t been my only experience I worked at the federal and state level in Texas and now the city level, so I think my different experience, there’s no substitute for experience,” said Olivares.

“I worked in sustainability consulting I worked in education reform I worked in natural resource management at the New York City department of parks and recreation,” said Canales.

Both candidates are also originally from the Sun City.

Olivares graduated from Jefferson High School and went on to graduate from UT Austin with a degree in Government.

Canales left El Paso to study at Colombia University where he earned a degree in Sustainable Development.

As for the candidate’s focuses for District 8, both spoke about economic development within the district.


“Focus on infill development and finding ways to make it profitable for developers who would otherwise be building out on the fringes like I said where it is maybe cheaper for them,” said Canales.

“It encompasses downtown, it encompasses a large part of Mesa where we have a swath of small businesses down Mesa and I really want to emphasize how important economic development is,” said Olivares.

In the primary, Olivares led with 5,707 votes, 39.36 percent. While Canales followed with a total of 4,947 votes, 34.11 percent.

Early voting is from Wednesday, November 30 through Tuesday, December 13, and Election Day is on Saturday, December 17.