Cameron County sheriff candidates come out firing

"I want the people of Cameron County to know they deserve a new sheriff, they deserve a younger sheriff, more motivated, more in tune with the community," Cameron County Republican candidate for the sheriff's seat Jimmy Manrrique.

However, incumbent Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio said he has beaten Manrrique before and is confident he'll do it again.

"I beat my opponent last time he ran as a democrat - I beat him more than 3 to 1 - now he's running as a republican," Lucio said. "He doesn't know what he wants - so that's a problem right then and there."

The stage is set and the gloves are off as early voting is underway for the general election.

"When I get in as sheriff, (I'm going to) fix the administration - I TMm not going to let two brothers run the department - I TMm going to run the department," Manrrique said. "I'm going to fix the jail. Whatever is wrong in there needs to be fixed. The jail hasn TMt passed a state inspection ever under his administration. I'm going to make sure that the street gang violence stops in Harlingen, San Benito (and other parts of the county).

The sheriff is no stranger to the campaign trail.

"He doesn't know what he's talking about," Lucio said about Manrrique's allegations about failed jail inspections.

Lucio said the jail is currently in compliance with Texas commission on Jail Standards.

"He probably has never worked in the jail - he probably doesn TMt even know what the jail looks like inside," Lucio said. "I have the administrative skills not only for the sheriff's office but for the jail. I have the experience, I have the knowledge, I have the education and that equates wisdom. The wisdom to do the right thing and everything that needs to be done."

Both candidates agree that crime in the border region has escalated.

Manrrique thinks he's the man to help get things under control.

"A report was released by the Texas Deprtment of Public Safety director...and he said that six out of the 10 cartels are now operating on this side of the border," Manrrique said. "That's not news to me or to most other people, but I think the sheriff needs to be more proactive."

Lucio said his deputies are ahead of the game and have contained border violence to the Mexican side.

"Is there violence in Mexico? Yes. Is there violence here in the United States? No. People talk about spillover, well what is spillover? The federal government has not been able to identify spill over. I can tell you people can go to the mall as peacefully and as safe as they can be."

It will up to voters to decide which man they believe can keep the county safe for the next four years.