Who’s running for this seat?
Chris Daniel Anchondo, 40, is an attorney.
Monique Velarde Reyes, 45, is an attorney and has served as the municipal court judge for the city of Socorro since 2016.
El Paso Matters sent questionnaires to every candidate in a contested primary race to help you decide who you want to represent you. Candidates were asked to limit their responses to 100 words. Responses have been lightly edited for grammar and to fit the word count.
Why do you want to transition from practicing law to serving as a judge?
Chris Daniel Anchondo: Serving my community. I have been in practice for 14 years, and when Judge Chew announced she was not going to seek re-election, I felt I could bring my experience and knowledge to continue the outstanding service Judge Chew has provided all these years.
Monique Velarde Reyes: As a current Judge, I enjoy serving my community in this capacity. Being a District Judge would allow me to serve a greater population.
How many cases have you tried to verdict, and what types of cases?
Chris Daniel Anchondo: I have tried over 70 cases to verdict. The cases, in civil matters, have ranged from Wrongful Death to Small Claims matters. In criminal matters, the cases have ranged from 1st Degree Felonies to Class C misdemeanors. As all types of family law matters.
Monique Velarde Reyes: I haven’t kept track of the cases I’ve taken to trial, but I haven’t had to take many that far. I’ve prepared hundreds of cases for trial, only to have them dismissed on trial day before seating a jury or being offered a plea that benefits my clients.
Why are you the best candidate in this race?
Chris Daniel Anchondo: I respect all the candidates in this race, and I am lucky to call them my colleagues. I feel I am the best candidate because I have the work ethic, temperament, and trial experience that has best prepared me for this position.
Monique Velarde Reyes: What qualifies me as the best candidate is my extensive judicial experience. I have been a practicing attorney in the county of El Paso since 2007 and the Judge for the City of Socorro since 2016. As Judge, I have adjudicated thousands of cases, both with attorneys and with those people who choose to represent themselves. I follow the same rules of evidence and court that a District Court Judge does and am beholden to the same Judicial Rules of Conduct of even a Supreme Court Judge. I know how to run a courtroom efficiently, effectively, and respectfully.
If elected, how do you intend to speed up your docket and dispose of your caseload?
Chris Daniel Anchondo: I believe communication is going to be key in facilitating a faster docket and disposing of the caseload. Cases that can be worked out between the parties must be pressured to get together to resolve those disputes. Every case is different, and will be handled as such, but with a Scheduling Order in place that will be enforced, there can be communication between everybody involved throughout the process to help facilitate a resolution by the parties themselves, or through trial.
Monique Velarde Reyes: I believe this court has done a great job controlling the docket and caseload thus far. As such, I would continue that practice with effective calendaring and holding strong to the dates already scheduled.
Would you place self-imposed limits on your tenure if elected? Please explain.
Chris Daniel Anchondo: No, I am running for this position to serve the community for as long as the people of this community will have me as their judge.
Monique Velarde Reyes: There is already a term limit based on age. However, if I believed that I no longer had the physical or mental capabilities to be Judge, I would retire from the bench or not seek re-election.
Why are you running in the Democratic primary for this office?
Chris Daniel Anchondo: I have been a registered Democrat since I was 18 years old. But with that being said, as a judge, politics will not play a role in my decisions. We are sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Texas Constitution. We assess the facts of each case and use the law to help us make the right decision.
Monique Velarde Reyes: I’ve been a lifelong democrat and actively participate in various democratic organizations in the county.
Read more about this race
After a dramatic March primary, when two of the four Democratic candidates for the 327th Judicial District Court drew fire stemming from past social media posts, the runoff election between Chris Daniel Anchondo and Monique Velarde Reyes is, so far, drama-free.