EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Four City Council seats are up for re-election this November, including Districts 1, 5, 6, and 8.
Political expert Dr. Richard Pineda and Director for the Sam Donaldson Center for Communications Studies at the University of Texas at El Paso breaking down each district race.
“I think all of these races are definitely affected by redistricting, so, as these lines have been drawn I think your probably going to stir up a little bit more interest,” said Pineda.
District one covers West El Paso and the upper valley, the seat previously held by Peter Svarzbein who has completed two full terms and cannot run again.
The race for City Council District one has the most candidates, with seven people vying for the seat.
- Analisa Cordova Silverstein
- Erin Tague
- Brian Kennedy
- Dave Jones
- Deliris Montanez Berrios
- Freddy Khlayel Avalos
- Lauren Ferris
Pineda says this race will more than likely go into a runoff.
“You can’t have that many people in a general election and expect anybody to get the 50 plus one. So I think right out of the gate that means that candidates in District 1 are going to have to fundraise to be a player in the general election but they’re also going to have to keep in mind that if their chances are good of making the runoff they’re going to have to have more money, so that’s complicated,” said Pineda.
For City Council Representative for District five which covers parts of East El Paso the incumbent Isabel Salcido is running for re-election and has two challengers.
- Isabel Salcido
- Richard Genera
- Felix J. Munoz
Pineda explaining that with less people running statistically there is a good chance this race will be decided in the general election. Adding that the incumbent does have an advantage of already being known.
“They already have name recognition and that’s really big in local races, because people know who that is so if you show up really uniformed about issues there’s a good chance you’re going to pull for the person who’s name you’ve heard at least. Hard to say at this stage what that will look like,” said Pineda.
The incumbent also running for District 6 where Claudia Rodriguez is running for re-election. However, former State Representative Art Fierro, also running for District 6 which covers parts of West El Paso and the Lower Valley.
- Claudia Rodriguez
- Cristian Botello
- Art Fierro
- Benjamin Leyva
“This is a little bit different normally I would say an incumbent gets that kind of bump coming in with name recognition, but with Fierro he has recognition, he has prominence in that area because of the time on the Community College board,” said Pineda regarding the District 6 race.
In District 8 which covers Downtown and Central El Paso, the current City Council Representative Cissy Lizarraga is retiring, and not running for re-election and three candidates are running for the seat. Including Lizarraga’s Chief of Staff.
- Chris Canales
- Rich Wright
- Bettina Olivares
“I think in some ways District 8 is one of the interesting cases partly because of the way the zoning changed. The actual district maps changed so you’ve got a little bit of a shift. I think in a race like that things are a little more open, you don’t have an incumbent in the traditional sense,” said Pineda.
KTSM 9 News speaking with all three candidates running for the District 8 seat.
Chris Canales is the current chief of staff for District 8 Representative Cissy Lizarraga and is a former Sustainability Consultant. Who says he want’s to continue the momentum in District 8.
“Green energy at city buildings is really important to me, sustainable practices in the city’s construction and among the contractors that they hire,” said Canales. “I think the condition of the streets and resurfacing is really important they’ve made good steps on them in the past years but there’s still a lot to do.”
Rich Wright is an El Paso Businessman and blogger who ran for El Paso City Council four years ago. Explaining what he wants to work on.
“I don’t like our property taxes, our property taxes went up 6% this year. If our property taxes increase by 6% every year they will double in 12 years,” said Wright. “The City budget went up by 9% this year, if the city budget increases by 9% every year it will double in 8 years compound interest,” said Wright.
Wright also speaking about El Paso streets, which all three candidates said was something they wanted to work on.
Another candidate running is Bettina Olivares who has worked for lawmakers at the Federal, State and local level. Including City Representatives Cassandra Hernandez and Representative Alexsandra Annello. Talking about the need for improvement in the services the city provides like the city’s bus service as an example.
“It has been difficult to provide these services at the level that El Paso is used to providing them and I would really want to see those get back to pre-pandemic levels, get even better than pre-pandemic levels,” said Bettina Olivares. “This is a hub and we need to always put our infrastructure first we need to make sure that our roads are up to par and they’re not they’re really not.”
The deadline for candidates to file to run for city council has passed and election day is Tuesday, November 8th, 2022.
KTSM 9 News will keep you updated on the City Council election and other candidates running.