Ousted El Paso City Council District 3 Rep. Cassandra Hernandez officially filed papers Tuesday to run in the November special election to fill her own seat after city officials declared that she had vacated it.
Her fellow council members voted earlier this month to set a special election date of Nov. 5 for the District 3 seat after determining last week that Hernandez effectively resigned her position as a result of a short-lived Facebook post about a mayoral bid.
Hernandez’s election filing could set the stage for a court battle given that Mayor Pro-Tem Claudia Ordaz Perez had told ABC-7 that Hernandez would be barred from running for the council seat in the special election. Hernandez retained an attorney when council made the decision to declare her seat vacated, and in a recent interview with ABC-7 maintained she’s the victim of unfair political treatment.
Mayor Dee Margo, other council members and city lawyers cited the Texas Constitution in ousting Hernandez. It says certain public officials can trigger an automatic resignation if they announce they are running for another office.
In a Facebook post last month, which was deleted a short time later, Hernandez appeared to launch a mayoral campaign. But Hernandez has insisted that the post was inadvertently made by a volunteer on her staff — and maintains she never authorized it although she has considered running for mayor.
The city’s official position is that the Facebook post constituted an announcement and triggered the “resign to run” provision of the state constitution.