As El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke continues to draw national attention in his campaign for U.S. Senator Ted Cruz’s seat, the race to replace O’Rourke is getting unexpectedly heated. Three candidates who lost to former El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar in the Democratic primary have filed a lawsuit alleging voter fraud played a role in Escobar’s victory.
Julian Aguilar, a reporter on politics and border affairs for the Texas Tribune, says the lawsuit’s lead petitioner is immigration attorney Enrique Garcia, one of six candidates for CD16 in the Democratic primary. UT El Paso professor John Carrillo and former state representative Norma Chavez have also joined the lawsuit.
“It’s fair to say that for a good amount of people that saw this in El Paso, there was a large eye roll,” Aguilar says, “and kind of a ‘here we go again’ sort of feeling because as former County Judge Escobar, who won the primary with 61 percent of the vote, pointed out, they don’t make any allegations of what went wrong or allege anything except that the margin of victory was so large.”
The 10-page court filing says a tampered memory card is to blame. Aguilar says there are no specific dates in the allegation, though, which is just the first of many inconsistencies in the case.
“Another curious thing is that former El Paso County Independent School Board trustee Dori Fenenbock, who was Judge Escobar’s closest competitor in polling and in money, is not a party to the suit and neither is Jerome Tilghman, who was the sixth candidate, who actually garnered more votes than Mr. Carrillo did,” Aguilar says.
In a Facebook post, Norma Chavez has also claimed that her own voter information was incorrect.
“It’s really a bizarre thing that’s playing out and I’m not exactly sure how far it’s going to go,” Aguilar says, “if the judge is going to dismiss it outright or if this is going to move on and sort of muck up the process as people are trying to look forward to November.”
Written by Elizabeth Ucles.