Early voting begins Tuesday; a look at the races

Early voting for the Nov. 3 General Election begins on Tuesday, and Cameron County voters take to the polls to also elect officials in several county races. Here’s what you need to know.

Laura Perez-Reyes and Mirla Veronica Deaton are facing off in the race for Cameron County District Clerk, a two-year term.

District Clerk serves as custodian of all records for the district courts, coordinates the jury panel selection process, manages court registry funds, and more.

Perez-Reyes, the Democratic Party nominee, currently serves as the Brownsville Independent School District Board of Trustee’s assistant secretary, a position she has held since 2016, as well as the court coordinator at County Court- at- Law No. 3.

She holds a Master of Public Policy and Management from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, as well as a Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice from University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College.

According to her campaign page, she is on the board of the Cameron Appraisal District and the Cameron County Bail Bond Board, the county Crime Stoppers board, is a member of the Texas Association for Court Administration, and the vice president of Tip of Texas Family Outreach.

Her Republican Party opponent Mirla Veronica Deaton is running on her experience as well, which includes over a decade of employment within the Office of the County Clerk and a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership and Ethics.

She promises “proper and wise” budget spending, equal access to court information, and to “protect and preserve records”. It is Deaton’s first time running for elected office.

In the Sheriff’s Race, Democratic candidate Eric Garza is running against Republican opponent John Chambers.

Garza cites his experience serving as district clerk, as well as his training in law enforcement through the County Constable’s office. He wants to do a thorough audit of the funding and equipment allotted to the Sheriff’s department, which has been run by incumbent Sheriff Omar Lucio for approximately 20 years.

His opponent Chambers has a long background in law enforcement and cites his experience working in law enforcement since 1995 as reason he should be elected.

Chambers does have a pending legal matter which could result in 14 misdemeanor convictions for allegedly ordering a subordinate to falsify firearms qualifications records.

Those charges resulted in him stepping down as Chief of the Indian Lake Police Department in 2015, the revocation of his peace officer license, and could result in probation or jail time. He can re-apply to be licensed and would have a two-year grace period if elected.

For County Constable Precinct 1, Democratic candidate Daniel Holland is running against Republican challenger Norman Esquivel, Jr. The precinct includes Port Isabel, Laguna Vista, and a portion of Brownsville.

Holland is a lifelong resident of the Laguna Madre area and began a career in law enforcement with the Cameron County Park Rangers in 2015, where he served as a patrol sergeant. He works as a patrol officer for the City of Port Isabel and works as a seasonal police officer for the City of South Padre Island.

He currently serves as an active SWAT operator on the Law Enforcement Rapid Response Regional team.

Esquivel has worked as an officer at the Port Isabel PD since 2009, was promoted to detective in 2012 and was assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division. He worked as a Marine Safety Enforcement Officer and became a certified Mental Health Officer in 2014.

He has worked as a detective for Los Fresnos PD and is now at the Point Isabel Independent School District Police Department, where he works as a Police Officer Liaison.

Finally, incumbent Justice of the Peace Dora “Sallie” Gonzalez is being challenged by Republican Charles “Chuck” Vieh, are running for JP, Precinct 5.

Vieh wants a “conservative change” and has said he wants to serve the county’s law-abiding citizens and intends to set hours and policies that meet the needs of “hard-working” Cameron County residents.

esheridan@brownsvilleherald.com