As the primary election nears for El Paso County Commissioners Court seats, Precinct 2 challenger Judy Gutierrez leads incumbent David Stout in fundraising efforts with heavy law enforcement union support.
Campaign finance reports for the Precinct 2 and Precinct 4 seats filed this week showed low fundraising amounts for most candidates vying to fill the seats, including contributions to incumbents Carl Robinson, who represents Precinct 4, and Stout. The primary elections are on March 1, with early voting beginning on Feb. 14.
Precinct 4 covers portions of Northwest and West El Paso. Precinct 2 covers portions of West El Paso, Downtown and East El Paso based on new voting boundaries adopted by the El Paso County Commissioners Court in November.
In the bid for the Precinct 2 seat, Gutierrez has raised just over $25,000 since entering the race. That doesn’t include the $4,714 she transferred from funds raised for an unsuccessful City Council race in 2020. About 68% of her political contributions were donated by public safety unions representing sheriff’s deputies, police officers and firefighters — totaling $17,000.
Gutierrez, who retired in December 2019 from the city of El Paso after 24 years of service as assistant and chief of staff to the last four District 2 representatives, has said one of the key reasons she is running is in support of law enforcement.
Campaign finance reports showed Gutierrez raised $14,126 in campaign contributions during the first six months of 2021. The two largest donors were local law enforcement political action committees: The El Paso Police Association PAC contributed $2,500 and the El Paso Sheriff Association PAC contributed $5,000 to her campaign, according to her filing report.
In her latest filing covering the last six months of 2021, Gutierrez reported about $15,800 in contributions. The El Paso County Sheriff’s Officers Association made two contributions totaling $5,000. She also received a $2,000 contribution from the International Association of Firefighters Local 51, as well as smaller contributions from El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles for $250 and sheriff’s Cmdr. Ryan Urrutia for $100.
Stout, who has served since 2015, did not receive significant contributions based on his two 2021 campaign finance reports.
His January filing showed he raised $8,385 in political contributions and loaned his own campaign $5,558.96. Among his top contributors were developer Richard Aguilar, former state Sen. José Rodríguez and Rachel Stout, who each donated $1,000, as well as businessmen Jose Fong, who gave $600, and Lane Gaddy, who donated $500.
Democratic challenger Carlos Soto, a political newcomer, did not report any campaign contributions for the race.
Precinct 4 candidates report low fundraising numbers
In the Precinct 4 race, most candidates did not report significant campaign contributions according to the reports.
Robinson, who is seeking reelection, filed an incomplete campaign finance report that does not list contribution totals such as individual contributions, expense totals or cash on hand. His report showed he has $14,186 in outstanding loans.
His July 2021 filing which covers the first six months of that year showed Robinson raised $7,000, with the largest contribution being made by businessman Stanley Jobe, who gave $5,000.
Democratic challenger Dorothy “Sissy” Byrd, who unsuccessfully campaigned to represent El Paso City Council District 4 in the 2020 general election, reported $440 in political contributions from July to December 2021.
Democratic challenger Sergio Coronado, a longtime Canutillo Independent School District trustee who unsuccessfully ran for county judge in 2010, reported transferring $2,211.42 from his school board campaign fund. There were no other contributions reported.
David Adams, a political newcomer and local business owner running in the Republican primary for the seat, did not report any political contributions.
Republican challenger Adam Fatuch, a political newcomer, raised $2,769.38 in contributions based on his campaign finance report. Fatuch contributed $1,000 of the total.
Blanca Trout, the current Canutillo ISD school board trustee and Republican challenger who unsuccessfully ran to represent Texas’ 16th Congressional District in 2020, raised $2,252.69 from July to December 2021. She contributed $1,416.69 of the total.
Republican political newcomer Victor Navarette did not file a campaign finance report.
Feature photo: The primary elections are on March 1, with early voting beginning on Feb. 14. (Corrie Boudreaux/El Paso Matters)