Patricia “Patty” O’Caña-Olivarez appears to have secured the judge’s seat for the newly created Hidalgo County Court-at-Law No. 9, according to unofficial numbers from Tuesday’s Democratic primary.
O’Caña-Olivarez, an attorney, collected 61.62% of votes, or 37,306 votes. Challenger Abiel Flores, who is also an attorney, picked up 23,235 votes, or 38.38%. This is with more than 80% of precincts reporting, according to the Hidalgo County Elections Department as of presstime Tuesday.
“I am ecstatic,” O’Caña-Olivarez said. “I just finished celebrating together right now with family and friends. The position was created to alleviate workload that has been affecting other courts-at-law, and to take over those cases. I look forward to bringing community involvement within the court system.
“God blessed me with this win and this opportunity.”
The county initially estimated that it would take about $2.7 million to create the new courts-at-law posts, according to a discussion during a September 2019 meeting.
In 2019, the 86th Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 891, creating courts-at-law No. 9 and 10 in Hidalgo. Armando Marroquin is running uncontested for Court-at-Law No. 10.
It appears that Gilberto Saenz will keep his seat as Justice of the Peace Precinct 1, Place 1, since he is leading the poll with 6,765 votes, 65.28% of the ballot. His challenger Juan Ramos Jr., a clerk with the city of Progreso, stood at 34.72%, or 3,598 votes.
The race was close for Precinct 3, Place 1 JP, with just a couple of percentage points between Sonia Treviño and Marco De Luna. Treviño led with 51.6% of the ballot, or 9,838 votes. De Luna, a lawyer, had 48.4% of the vote, or 9,229.
Incumbent Charlie Espinoza nearly secured half of the votes for the three-way race for Precinct 4, Place 1 JP with 49.84% of the vote, or 7,398 votes. Jaime Rene Chavana is second with 4,227 votes, or 28.46%; Orlando “O.J.” Jiménez is last with 21.69%, or 3,220 votes.
Larry Gallardo led the race for constable for Precinct 3 with 60.49% of the vote, or 11,073 votes, while Miguel Flores had 39.51%, or 7,234 votes.
In the three-way race for constable of Precinct 4, incumbent A. “J.R.” Gaitan maintained a lead with 52.66% of votes, or 7,615 votes. Eddie Badillo, a Hidalgo County sheriff’s deputy, sat in second with 26.82% of the vote, or 3,878 votes. Elias Mora garnered 2,969 votes, or 20.53%.