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Candidates Shake Up Races For County Courthouse

By ABC-7 Reporter Daniel Marin

EL PASO – “I am confident I’m the best candidate.” The words of former El Paso city representatives Larry Medina as he announced his now-canceled run for county judge. Late Monday evening, Medina withdrew his name from the race citing personal reasons. Atop the list, the impending birth of his son.

Medina leaves three Democrats in the race for county judge: County Commissioner Veronica Escobar, Canutillo School Board President Sergio Coronado and Rick Ledesma.

And, in a day of surprises, a Republican joined the run for judge. Jaime Perez, chief of staff for current County Judge Anthony Cobos, announced a change of plans.

Up until last week, Perez said he planned on challenging El Paso Congressman Silvestre Reyes. Instead, he’ll remain in his position with Cobos as he runs to replace him.

Perez also made national headlines last month – back when everyone thought he was making a run for D.C. – after it was revealed he’s selling tamales to raise money for his campaign.

“In El Paso, people are afraid to get involved in politics because they fear they don’t have the money to do so,” he explained to ABC-7. “My point was whether you start very, very small – like selling food – then that’s how you should start.”

Also at the courthouse, freshly-appointed County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal now has company for March’s Democratic primary. Former El Paso Assistant District Attorney Theresa Caballero, no stranger to politics herself, filed her paperwork to unseat Bernal on Monday.

Caballero says one of her biggest campaign issues: who should advise the County’s new ethics board? Not the County Attorney she told ABC-7.

“My position has been as a member of the public and will be as the County Attorney that board needs to be completely independent and they need to have their own legal adviser,” said Caballero.

Bernal said she welcomes a debate over the ethics board, telling ABC-7, in her opinion, Texas law is on her side.

“That law has been interpreted to mean that the county attorney acts as the legal adviser,” she said. “Now, do I have the authority to step back if I want to? Absolutely.”

A Texas Attorney General ruling on the ethics board is expected within the next four months.

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