Indicted commissioner unseated as race heads to runoff

County Commissioner Pct. 2 Ernie Hernandez has held the seat for three years and is seeking re-election. However, just weeks ago there was a possibly damning turn of events.

There's no doubt, in my opinion, that it was politically motivated," Hernandez said.

The commissioner was indicted by Cameron County District Attorney Luis Saenz on eight state counts of official oppression. Hernandez stands by his innocence but knows the indictment could break his campaign.

"I've had an outpouring of support from people knowing that the timing was really wrong," Hernandez said. "It happen(ed) four weeks before a primary."

Stepping down and dropping-out of the race, was not an option.

"That would almost be admitting guilt, and I'm not," Hernandez said.

Meanwhile the theww other candidates vying for his seat took advantage of the momentum change.

"We thought it was time for a change, time for somebody who had the interest of the public," candidate and attorney Alex Dominguez said.

The other two candidates attorney Gerry Linan and funeral home worker Leo Lopez were out on Election Day pulling for every vote.

Dominguez said he's got the education and fresh perspective to make a real impact.

"We have people that are still on welfare and we can't have that," Dominuez said. "We need to be able to create jobs so that our school graduates can go to college here locally, and having jobs for them here when they get out.

This is the second time pct. 2 native Linan has run for the seat. He's seen the area evolve over time, and believes he understands the needs to continue that.

"The city bus service doesn't go into Cameron Park, since it's not into the incorporated part of the city, so I started working, just a few weeks ago, with discussions with (Brownsville) Mayor (Tony) Martinez.

New comer Leo Lopez said he's worked for the county before, now he wants to help run it. He said he's proud there hasn't been any "mud-slinging," but in the end believes he's the best man for the job.

Hernandez said he's hungry for at least one more term, and clearing his name.

"If I am fortunate enough, to make the run off, I would feel somewhat exonerated among my peers," Hernandez said.

It's expected that with the four candidates spliting the votes, the race will go to a run-off.