Leeser-Ortega runoff race begins

May 12 ABC-7 Xtra: Leeser vs. Ortega, the only pre-runoff debate

EL PASO, Texas - Hyundai of El Paso president Oscar Leeser almost had it.

Early voters took him beyond the 50 percent plus one vote needed to win the mayoral seat without a runoff. However, Saturday voters changed the game and put City Representative Steve Ortega back in the game.

Campaigning started all over again Sunday night on ABC-7 Xtra, where the candidates sparred over economic policy and domestic partner benefits, among other topics.

On Xtra, Ortega admitted voters who were unhappy over issues like the ballpark and domestic partner benefits may have hurt him at the polls, but he said he stands by his decisions.

"There's no doubt that there's some things that the city council has done and that I have supported to help make this community a better place that weren't popular, and so I think what we need to do is go out and distinguish the record of El Paso," Ortega said.

Lesser, who got 47 percent of the vote compared to Ortega's 22 percent, said the runoff is a new race.

"Steve and I are tied right now, we're zero-zero and there is no lead by anybody right now. We go back to work. There's five weeks. We go to go work out there and earn the voters trust and confidence all over again."

The runoff election is scheduled for June 15.

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