The city of El Paso is holding a special election for the District 3 city council seat on November 5, 2019. The seat is currently represented by Cassandra Hernandez-Brown. Candidates hoping to appear on the ballot have until September 26 to file.
The special election was called because Texas has a resign-to-run law that requires officeholders to resign from their current office if they announce they are running for a different office. An August 19 post on Hernandez-Brown’s public Facebook page read, “Cassandra Hernandez for mayor of El Paso,” and was later deleted. Hernandez-Brown said one of her volunteers uploaded the phrase and that she did not authorize it. On August 26, the city council came to a 4-3 decision that the Facebook post was a declaration of her candidacy for mayor, triggering a special election. Hernandez-Brown could not vote on the decision.
Hernandez-Brown’s attorney argued that she should not have to resign, stating, “There is nothing wrong with preparing for other options and considering those. It was an inadvertent public notification that went out when they changed the name of that Facebook account.”
Mayor Pro Tempore Claudia Ordaz Perez said that Hernandez-Brown had already effectively resigned and that the city council needed to follow state law. She stated, “One, is this was done on a public platform. Two, any person from the public looking at this public page would assume that this was an announcement for public office.”
Hernandez-Brown said she will remain in the position until the election on November 5, and she has also filed to run in the special election. Although Perez told ABC-7 that Hernandez-Brown would not be permitted to run, the city issued a statement after Hernandez-Brown filed saying she was allowed to do so.
El Paso is the sixth-largest city in Texas and the 20th-largest city in the U.S. by population.