The cordial Republican party runoff for El Paso County Commissioner Precinct 4 turned a little tense last week as the candidates have started questioning each other’s reasons for seeking a public office.

David Adams

David Adams, a local businessman and political newcomer, is branding his opponent Blanca Trout, a current Canutillo school board trustee, as a career politician who is solely seeking her next office.

“If you want a politician to represent you, then (Blanca) is the person for you,” Adams said. “If you want change and a voice, then I’m your candidate.”

Trout quickly responds by reminding voters that as a school trustee she does not get paid, that she got re-elected and that she has been a volunteer in the community for more than 25 years.

“Obviously, I’m doing something right,” she said. “The voters like me or else they would not have reelected me. I’ve always served my community; he has not.”

Blanca Trout

During the March 1 Republican Party primary Trout edged Adams by 11 votes. She got 37.43% of the vote and he got 37.25%. Since neither candidate received 50% of the vote plus one, they are in a runoff.

Early voting for the May 24 primary runoff begins May 16 and ends May 20. The county commissioner is one of five members of Commissioners Court, which makes policy-making and budget decisions for county government.

Since the March 1 primary, both candidates said they have been talking to voters, visiting neighborhoods trying to get their message out.

Adams, 52, said he is the only Republican candidate that has the vision to win in the general election in November when the GOP and Democratic primary winners run against each other. The winner of the Adams-Trout runoff will run against either Sergio Coronado or incumbent Commissioner Carl Robinson in November. Robinson and Coronado are in the Democratic Party runoff.

“I’m running to get a different voice on our elected boards,” Adams said. “Those serving on the Commissioners Court right now are from the same (political) party. We need a different person sitting at the table who will bring a different voice and different perspective. By being inclusive, more people get heard and more will get done.”

The last Republican to sit on Commissioners Court was Andrew Haggerty, who represented Precinct 4 for one term before losing to Robinson in the 2018 general election. Before Andrew Haggerty, Precinct 4 was represented by Republican Dan Haggerty who was the commissioner from 1995 to 2014.

Trout, 60, was first elected to the Canutillo school district board in 2016. She was reelected in 2020 and is currently in the middle of a four-year term. If Trout wins in November, she would have to resign from the school board as state law does not allow a person to sit on two government agencies that levy taxes in the same area.

Trout is focusing her campaign on improving the roads in Anthony, Canutillo and Vinton. Precinct 4 includes the Upper Valley, parts of the Westside and Northeast El Paso.

“This part of the county has too many streets without curbs and sidewalks,” she said. “That is a major problem for the elderly and for families whose children have special needs. You can’t use a wheelchair out there, you can’t use a walker.”

If elected she said she will work to see how the county’s Public Works department and its Road and Bridge section can improve these streets. The road and bridge division is responsible for maintaining more than 620 miles of roads in the unincorporated areas of the county.

The El Paso County Commissioners are paid $114,901 annually and serve four-year terms.

Ramon Bracamontes

Ramon Bracamontes is editor of El Paso Matters. He may be reached at ramonb@elpasomatters.org.