This article was updated at 10:10am, ET. to add three missing candidates to the list. Deliris Montanez Berrios was added as a candidate at 17:44, ET.
Although the March 5, 2024, primaries are 287 days away, a slew of candidates have started announcing their candidacies earlier than normal this year. It started with outgoing Sheriff Richard Wiles introducing his protégé, Ryan Urutia, as a candidate to replace him. Wiles announced the day before that he was not seeking another term. Urutia’s early announcement led to several candidates making announcements. In addition to Urutia’s premature campaign announcement, another event scheduled in El Paso for June 2024 is impacting the upcoming primary election.
On March 26, 2022, Visit El Paso, the marketing arm of the City of El Paso announced that the 2024 Texas Democratic Party’s Presidential State Convention will be held in El Paso. The convention is slated to attract over 10,000 visitors to El Paso during the convention, which is scheduled for June 6, 2024, through June 8. The convention, although scheduled after the primary, will play an important part in the primary for the candidates running on the Democratic Party ticket. Campaign support from party stalwarts will be determined by party credentials. Candidates running on the Democratic Party ticket will have to demonstrate strong Democratic Party affiliation for party support and endorsements during the campaign season towards the primaries. Any candidate whose Democratic Party credentials are in question will face a difficult time receiving endorsements and money from party adherents.
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Ryan Urrutia was introduced by Richard Wiles on March 8. This forced other candidates to announce before they were ready. Wiles referred to the “office mess” at the district attorney’s office in his remarks introducing Urrutia, suggesting that Urrutia’s election would not create another scandal for the County of El Paso.
On December 15, 2022, El Paso’s first woman district attorney resigned under controversy. Rosales’ premature resignation led to the appointment of Bill Hicks to fill Rosales’ remaining term through the end of 2024.
The next candidate to announce her intention to run for office was Jackie Arroyo Butler. Butler announced on April 4 that she is seeking the Precinct 1 county commissioner seat, currently held by Carlos Leon, who is not seeking reelection. Butler held a campaign launch event on April 14. On her campaign website, Butler says that she has lived in Precinct 1 for most of her life.
Butler’s announcement was followed by the incumbent for county commission precinct 3, Iliana Holguin. Holguin announced the opening of her reelection campaign on April 19.
The next candidate to announce was Nancy Casas who is running for District Attorney. Casas held a kickoff party to announce her candidacy on May 11, 2023. Casas is one of three former district attorneys accused by Rosales of undermining her office. The other two were Cheri Railey and Jennifer Vandenbosch. On her campaign website, Casas states she will bring restore “integrity” to the office “which was taken off the track by the previous [Rosales] administration.”
Following Casas’ announcement, the current employee at the County Attorney’s office, Christina Sanchez, was the next candidate to announce a run for office. Sanchez, who is currently a trustee (District 4) for the El Paso Community College, is seeking to replace JoAnne Bernal who announced on January 24 that she is not seeking reelection. Sanchez filed her treasurer designation 15 days later, on February 8.
After Sanchez, Omar Carmona announced he was seeking to run for judge. Carmona, who filed the initial petition seeking the removal of Yvonne Rosales, announced on May 21 on his Facebook account that he was seeking the 68th District Court judge seat in the primary election.
Rounding out our list of candidates who have announced they are seeking office in 2024 is Jeremiah Haggerty who is challenging incumbent Danny T. Zamora for the Constable Precinct 2 seat. Haggerty lost to Zamora by 32 votes in the March 3, 2020 primary.
Another sheriff’s deputy, Bobby Flores, has issued an invitation for an announcement and fundraiser event scheduled for next week, May 31. Flores is expected to announce he is running for the Sheriff’s seat.
Normally, candidates wait until August to start making their announcements, but Urutia’s announcement for sheriff had several candidates scrambling for the media’s attention by holding announcement events. Announcing early allows candidates and incumbents to secure campaign donations early in the election, thereby limiting available funds to potential rivals. It also provides them with campaign momentum making it more difficult for opponents to challenge them.
The first day to file to run for office is November 11, 2023. Early voting for the March 2024 primaries is scheduled for February 20, 2024, with Election Day scheduled for March 5, 2024.
Update: After we published our article we received a list of additional candidates that have announced or filed campaign treasurer reports. They are Rafael Chavez for Constable 6, Rito Rubio for Constable 5, and Raul Mendiola for sheriff.
Deliris Montanez Berrios is challenging Veronica Escobar for her seat in 2024.
Disclosure: As was the case during the 2022 elections, El Paso News will disclose the candidates the author’s branding and technology company provides services to. Candidates Iliana Holguin and Bobby Flores have contracted services from the author’s company. These services are provided separately from the publication and have no influence on our reporting.