Sheriff candidates prepare for runoff

Candidates in the race for Cameron County Sheriff are prepping for a May 26 runoff election following Tuesday’s close race for the Democratic nomination.

None of the three candidates — incumbent Sheriff Omar Lucio, former District Clerk Eric Garza, and former San Benito Police Chief Michael Galvan — won the 50 percent plus one vote required to secure the nomination during Tuesday’s primary.

Early voting results showed Lucio and Garza neck and neck, with Lucio at 42.68% and Garza at 42.49%.

As polls closed on Tuesday, final results showed Lucio in the lead with 13,951 votes, or 43.16% of the total vote. Garza closely followed with a total of 13,238 votes, or 40.95% of the total. Galvan, collected 5,136 votes, or 15.89%.

Now, Garza and Lucio will face off in the May 26 runoff election. The winner of May’s race will run against Republican nominee John Chambers, a former chief of the Indian Lake Police Department, in the November general election.

On Tuesday afternoon, Lucio, who is running for his sixth term, argued the success of the office under his command, stating that deputies stationed throughout the county are able to successfully respond to incidents within 8 to 12 minutes.

The sheriff said this has contributed to a lower crime rate. “When you lower the crime rate that is what everybody is looking for. And I think we’ve accomplished that. We’ve kept the Sheriff’s Office with a high integrity, accountability, and service,” he said.

Lucio said that re-electing him would allow the office to continue its collaborations with local, state, and federal law enforcement, which benefits citizens of Cameron County.

“We invite quite often the Brownsville PD, the San Benito PD, for training. That is a plus for everybody. The idea is to keep the whole county, the state of Texas, and the entire United States safe. And by working together, we accomplish a lot,” said Lucio.

Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio stands with his supporters during his campaign for re-election Tuesday outside the polling location at Burns Elementary School.(Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)
Eric Garza stands with his supporters Tuesday during his campaign for Cameron County Sheriff outside the polling location at Burns Elementary School.(Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)

Lucio was not immediately available for comment on Wednesday.

Former District Clerk Eric Garza said his campaign is ready for the runoff and encouraged voters to keep up their support until May 26. “We’re going to continue, we’re going to regroup. First and foremost, we want to thank the voters, our supporters, and thank them for their help and for their votes,” he said in a phone call.

“Change is coming, and if we want to move the county forward, we need to make sure everyone goes out and votes,” added Garza.

The candidate said his platform aims to make the office more efficient and provide better management. One of the first agenda items he would undertake is an audit of all equipment and resources currently used by the department, he said on Tuesday.

Prior to Tuesday’s results, Garza explained that his campaign seeks to get to know a changing and diverse county in order to successfully implement necessary reforms.

“Cameron County is growing and we need to grow with it and change with it. If we don’t, we’re not really serving the community. It has been a great ride and hopefully with the support and votes of our community, we’ll have a new Sheriff in Cameron County,” he said.