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Borderland Political Analyst weighs in on outcome
Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - 8:36pm
El Paso, TX (KDBC) — Election night is over -- and El Paso will be getting a new State Representative in District 76. The incumbent Naomi Gonzalez was soundly defeated in last night's primary -- which surprised many political analysts.
It was the Navy veteran and former Chief of Staff to Ciro Rodriguez and Pete Gallego who came out on top. Cesar Blanco will face former State Rep. Norma Chavez in a run-off election in May.
Professor Gregory Rocha said it's very rare for an incumbent to come in third in an election. He said voters in this race may have chosen their top two candidates based on character -- not politics. Many still upset about Gonzalez's drunk driving arrest.
It’s Democratic State Rep. Naomi Gonzalez’s mug shot that is one of the first things to pop up in internet searches for the incumbent. According to UTEP professor Gregory Rocha, it may also be the reason she's no longer in the running for her current seat."That was enough to stir up some descent and often it doesn't take much blood to be put into the water to get the sharks attracted,” Rocha said.
Gonzalez was arrested March 2013 after she allegedly drove drunk and rear ended a car in Austin. That car then hit a bicyclist. Multiple people were injured.
Rocha said residents in her district -- may have voted based on character, not politics. "It's one thing to govern it's another thing to campaign."
Rocha added, despite her arrest, Gonzalez has been working hard. "She had a fairly good, fairly productive session with passing a good amount of legislation, but sometimes that's not enough."
It's the surprise candidate -- military veteran Cesar Blanco who came out on top election night, "Very, very excited about the turnout. We've been knocking on doors since November. Talking to voters and mostly listening to them,” Blanco told us.
He'll now face former Rep. Norma Chavez in a run-off for the district 76 seat. "I bring seniority for District 76 and opportunity. I will be one of the top 25 members in the Texas House of Representatives,” Chavez told us back in February.
As for Gonzalez, it’s not over for the incumbent yet she still has 9 more months until she steps down.
, "She will still have duties to perform,” Rocha explained.
We reached out to Representative Naomi Gonzalez but she declined an on camera interview. As for Norma Chavez, she sent us a statement that stated she was spending time with family.