Pharr mayor confirms he is not seeking Hidalgo County judge post

Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez confirmed Tuesday that he is not planning a bid for county judge, this despite a push for such a run including the creation of a political action committee and gaining the support of current County Judge Ramon Garcia.

After careful consideration and much deliberation with my loved ones, colleagues and mentors, I have made the decision that, while I am grateful for the incredible outpouring of support, there is no better time and no better opportunity than now to continue the work I have begun as mayor of Pharr,” Hernandez said in a statement, adding that he felt “humbled” by “the encouragement from elected officials from all local levels.”

Noting that he has “much to accomplish here in Pharr,” Hernandez cited efforts to lower taxes in the city for the second consecutive year, the international bridge’s economic impact on the area, and “influencing national policy regarding homeland security, border issues and international trade and commerce, while protecting our environment.”

Hernandez also pointed to $150 million in transportation funding going toward expanding the Pharr interchange.

As mayor, Pharr citizens deserve my full attention to see things through completion, and I will continue to be the leader Pharr residents elected,” Hernandez’s statement read. “This does not preclude any aspirations for higher office that I may seek in the future, but right now I am committed to the citizens and families of the great city of Pharr, and to finishing the great work we started.”

Garcia said in August that he’d sit out the election in support of Hernandez for judge, and only planned to seek re-election if the Pharr mayor was not a candidate.

Meanwhile, McAllen District 1 City Commissioner Richard Cortez, the former mayor, is strongly considering a bid for county judge.

Its clears to me to give serious consideration,” Cortez said Tuesday morning upon hearing of Hernandez’s decision. “Because I’ve said if he’s running, I’m not. We have a lot of the same friends and I respect him.”

Cortez said that he’ll let the exploratory committee do its job. The Friends of Richard Cortez Hidalgo County Judge Exploratory Committee was formed on Sept. 1. He added that he believes he has strong support in all parts of the county.

I want to make the decision as soon as possible because people want to know,” Cortez said. “But the position belongs to the people of Hidalgo County. So we’ll see.”

While Cortez’s exploratory committee continues to seek feedback, Hernandez’s committee will now cease. Hernandez’s possible candidacy for judge was at one point considered Hidalgo County’s worst kept secret. And up until Tuesday morning, Hernandez had declined to comment on the matter despite the creation of the aforementioned Friends of Ambrosio “Amos” Hernandez for Hidalgo County Judge Exploratory Committee.

A pediatric surgeon, Hernandez was elected into office in 2015, and his slate, Pharr Forward, has since gained all but one seat on the City Commission.

mferman@themonitor.com