Dorothy “Sissy” Byrd said she will endorse her fellow Democratic competitor Sergio Coronado in the runoff against County Commissioner Carl Robinson following a competitive March 1 primary election.
Byrd, Coronado and Robinson, the incumbent, faced off during the Democratic primary. Since none of them received more than 50% of the vote, a runoff between Robinson and Coronado will be held on May 24.
Coronado received 38.2% of the total votes while incumbent Robinson had 34.8% — a 331-vote difference. Byrd received 2,623 votes, which is 27%.
“I ran for one reason, because I believe we need better representation. Those concerns are still there,” Byrd said. “That’s how come I believe I can give Sergio a chance for that position.”
Coronado said he is humbled by the endorsement.
“Her platform and mine aligned pretty well. She really cares about the community,” Coronado said. “She sits on several boards in the community and she’s just got her heart in the right place, and I’m really happy that she’s endorsed us.”
Byrd received more votes in several Northeast precincts than Robinson, but she fell short of receiving enough support to earn a spot in the May runoff. Overall, she finished first or second in 19 of the 51 precincts. When he was a city representative, Robinson represented Northeast El Paso.
“When there’s three people running and the third person is not there anymore then those people who voted for me need to understand who they need to vote for,” Byrd said.
One of Coronado and Byrd’s shared platforms took aim at Robinson’s attendance at El Paso County Commissioners Court meetings.
Byrd said she thinks the voters who supported her should support Coronado because they both felt the precinct needs a commissioner who will attend meetings and be more available to constituents.
A review of county records shows Robinson has been absent four times from County Commissioners Court since they resumed meeting in-person on Sept. 13, 2021 — the most out of the court’s members. County Judge Ricardo Samaniego and Commissioner Carlos Leon have been absent once during the same timeframe, while Commissioners Iliana Holguin and David Stout have not missed a meeting.
Robinson has twice attended via videoconference during the same timeframe, as have other members.
During a televised candidate forum, Robinson said he had only been absent from one meeting and called Coronado a “failed politician” and Byrd an “embezzler” and referred to them both as “sick people…coming up with sick things that aren’t true.”
Robinson did not respond to El Paso Matters’ request for comment.
Byrd has publicly said she had a felony theft charge from 1993, but the charge was dismissed following deferred adjudication.
“It’s a shame that he (Robinson) had to resort to calling myself and Sergio names,” Byrd said. “He used the word embezzlement and he knew that wasn’t the charge. I think he did that so he could look better — I think he was grasping at straws.”
Coronado, an attorney and Canutillo Independent School District trustee, unsuccessfully ran for county judge in 2006 and 2010.
Coronado said he disagrees with the “name-calling” by Robinson during the forum and said it shows signs of desperation.
“If you want to think about it, and I didn’t want to resort to calling him that, but you know if anybody is a ‘failed anything’ he’s a failed elected official because he hasn’t shown up for the meetings and when he shows up, he’s not engaged,” Coronado said.
The voter turnout for the primary drew 11.4% of El Paso County’s registered voters — which determined the Democratic and Republican nominees for the November general election in the majority of the races. That participation marks almost a 12,000-vote decline from the 2018 primary election, which had 15.5% turnout.
Precinct 4 covers portions of Northwest and Northeast El Paso.
The county commissioner is one of five members of the Commissioners Court, which makes policy-making and budget decisions for county government. The County Commissioners are paid $114,901.83 a year.
In the Republican primary Blanca Trout garnered 37.4% of the vote and David Adams garnered 37.2% — separated by just 15 votes. The pair will face off in the May 24 primary runoff election.
Early voting for the May 24 primary runoff election begins May 12.