March 4, 2020 1247 PM
TRI-COUNTY — Presidio County on Tuesday joined the rest of Texas (and 13 other states) in voting in the “Super Tuesday” primary elections, selecting candidates up and down the ballot to represent the Democratic and Republican parties in November’s general election. For Presidio County, a largely unchallenged field of incumbents means little will change in political offices, but statewide races are just heating up.
In Texas’ 23rd Congressional District, Gina Ortiz Jones beat back a field of challengers in her second bid to be the Democratic nominee for TX-23, successfully avoiding a runoff ahead of November. The percentage of Presidio County residents who voted for Ortiz Jones (60.57 percent) was lower than the district overall (67 percent), with Jaime Escuder, an Alpine lawyer, getting around 14 percent of the vote. A Republican runoff between Tony Gonzales (28 percent) and Raul Reyes (23 percent) will determine who faces Ortiz Jones in a race to take over retiring representative Will Hurd’s seat in Washington.
In the race for the 83rd District Attorney’s Office, which covers Presidio, Brewster, Jeff Davis and Pecos counties, incumbent Sandy Wilson fell to challenger Ori White in the Republican primary. Wilson championed her efforts to train and educate local law enforcement, while White said he was running to restore “people’s faith in the values and principles of accountability, responsibility and common sense.” Since there are no Democratic challengers in this race, White of Fort Stockton will become the new 83rd district attorney.
In Texas House District 74, Republican Ruben Falcon overtook Robert Garza to continue on to the general in November. In the Democratic race, Eddie Morales defeated Rowland Garza and Ramsey English Cantu in Presidio and across the district, narrowly avoiding a runoff by garnering 50.8% of all votes returned. The seat opened up after Poncho Nevárez announced he would not seek re-election after a scandal involving illicit drugs found at an airport.
In Texas State Senate District 29, Democrat César Blanco, a current state representative for El Paso, and Republican Bethany Hatch both won their uncontested races, preparing the two to face off.
Joe Biden emerged as the frontrunner of the Democratic presidential primary on Tuesday night after winning several states, including Texas, in the “Super Tuesday” primary elections. But the vote between Biden and Sanders was relatively close, with the men getting around 33 percent and 30 percent, respectively. But Sanders trounced Biden in Presidio County, getting 41 percent compared to Biden’s 17 percent. In the Republican presidential contest, President Donald Trump easily took Presidio County and Texas, with challengers winning only a handful of votes in Presidio County.
Locally, Adan Covos won Precinct 2 Constable, defeating incumbent Esteban “Steve” Coker. Covos said he felt pretty sure he would be victorious, speaking of his campaigning efforts with signage and through social media. In a statement, Covos thanked voters, friends and family for their support and said he looks forward to serving the citizens of Presidio for the next four years.
A number of Presidio County elections were uncontested, and in those races the incumbents naturally won. Among those unchallenged incumbents were county commissioners Brenda Bentley and Jose Cabezuela, County Attorney Rod Ponton, Sheriff Danny Dominguez, Precinct 1 Constable Estevan Marquez, County Tax Assessor/Collector Natalia Williams and District Judge Roy B. Ferguson, who will all hold their seats.
In the race for U.S. Senate, longtime incumbent John Cornyn handily won the Republican primary, with over 76 percent of the vote (and around 63 percent in Presidio County). The Democratic primary was messier and will require a runoff, as the frontrunner, Mary “MJ” Hegar, got only around 23 percent of the vote. And the Presidio County Democratic primary was more liberal than most of the state, with two progressives — Annie “Mamá” Garcia and Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez — coming in the lead with around 25 and 20 percent, respectively. Tzintzún Ramirez and Royce West are battling it out for the chance to face Hegar in the runoff as the last returns trickle in.