Election sends two new faces to Commissioners Court

Leon, Perez to represent east El Paso, Lower Valley

EL PASO, Texas - The two contested races for El Paso County's Commissioners Court are decided, and two new representatives will be sitting on the court come January.

Democrat Carlos Leon, the former El Paso police chief, faced Republican Bill Lenderman in the race to represent Precinct 1. He won with 68.3 percent or 30,598 votes. Anna Perez did not run for re-election, opting instead to run for a district judge seat.

Leon spoke to ABC-7 during his victory party at the Radisson Hotel. He said he's been preparing for a win by attending county budget hearings and is looking forward to helping shape the future of the sportsplex.

"One of the things I've seen in the Commissioners Court that I'm very excited about is it's very progressive, and they've gone from political to working on policy," said Leon. "So I'm very excited about that."

Democrat Vince Perez defeated Republican Fred Chavez to become the commissioner of Precinct 3. The former spokesman for longtime Rep. Silvestre Reyes won with 77.65 percent, or 25,106 votes cast.

He replaces Tonia Chozet, who was appointed by County Judge Veronica Escobar several months ago. Her appointment came after former commissioner Willie Gandara, Jr. resigned following his arrest on drug charges. Gandara later pleaded guilty.

While the big issue in the lower valley is the construction of the Tornillo-Guadalupe International Port of Entry, Perez told ABC-7 his first order of business is restoring trust in his office following Gandara's controversial departure.

"It's going to take a lot of hard work, but I'm looking forward to it," Perez told ABC-7 during his results party. "It's been a great experience meeting everyone in the community, and it's been a great campaign. It's been fun, and it's been great to meet everyone."

At one time, the commissioners court had a female majority, with three of the five members of the court. County Judge Veronica Escobar is the remaining woman on commissioners court.

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