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Samaniego took page from opponent’s playbook to win election, professor says

A UTEP professor says Richard Samaniego beat his opponent in the El Paso County Judge race by taking a page out of his opponent’s own playbook.

“I was a little bit surprised, because I think this is a race where name recognition, and the fact that John Cook was the mayor of El Paso, I thought that would carry him through,” said UTEP Professor Richard Pineda.

Pineda told ABC-7 former El Paso mayor, John Cook, was well known for knocking on doors during his mayoral campaigns. Pineda believes Cook did so well in the general vote, the former mayor played a conservative roll and did not hit the streets.

Pineda said Samaniego, however, knocked on more doors, hit social media harder, and outpaced Cook, eventually gaining more name recognition than the veteran politician.

Samaniego is a businessman and a relative newcomer to El Paso politics, never having held office before. Cook, who conceded the race, says the perceived notion he was the so called “Demolition Man” in the Duranguito development may have cost him the election.

Pineda disagrees, saying the Samaniego name was engraved in voter’s minds when they went to the polls because of all the hard work leading up to election day. Samaniego is related to former El Paso County Sheriff Leo Samaniego.

Samaniego won the election by more than 200 votes.

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