Hidalgo County party leaders weigh in on elections

Former Republican Chairman Hollis Rutledge attributes this year's low voter turnout to a May primary.

Early voter turn out is down in Hidalgo County this primary season and party leaders attribute it to a later than normal primary election.

Hidalgo County Democrat Chairwoman Dolly Elizondo-Garcia is encouraging everyone to get out and vote.

"You're determining right now who your state representative will be, who your congressman is going to be and your president, Elizondo-Garcia said. So it's a very important race."

Former Republican Chairman Hollis Rutledge attributes this year's low voter turnout to a May primary.

It's normally held in March.

"Obviously it will affect both primaries, I'm sure. By how much? Who knows," Rutledge said.

But not all precincts are seeing low voter turnout.

With no incumbent and four candidates, Elizondo-Garcia says she believes the heated state representative race for District 40 won't be decided until a run off in July.

"It's highly unlikely someone will capture the 51 percent of the vote, Elizondo-Garcia said.

Garcia believes Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D) will fair well in the primary for Congressional District 15.

"If he so happens to be a in a run off I think that's a product of the primary date being changed, a little voter apathy in McAllen."

But Rutledge says in the general election Hinojosa will find himself in one of the most competitive races in the valley.

"By far it's the most competitive because it runs north and south," Rutledge said.

As for the Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevio, Garcia predicts Trevio will keep his position.

"He has done very well for the county, Trevio said. I think he'll take the election."

But Rutledge says the political winds are changing.

"Conservatives and independent voters I think will shift from the democratic column to the Republican column because of the economy and social issues and will shore up a more competitive race, Rutledge said.

While the Valley is a Democratic Party stronghold, Rutledge says state District 41 is still the most conservative district in the region.