Incumbent Justice of the Peace Linda Salazar won her race for Precinct 2, Place 1 on Tuesday night. She won 50.58% of the total vote, defeating challengers Cynthia “Cyndi” Hinojosa and Fred Arias and setting the stage for a fourth term as JP.
Unofficial results indicate Salazar received 8,257 votes, Hinojosa received 5,680 votes and Arias garnered 2,389 votes. There is no Republican running for the seat in the November general election.
Volunteers for Salazar gathered outside the polling station at Burns Elementary school bearing campaign signs, waving and cheering as lines of cars drove down Alton Gloor Boulevard on Election Day.
Salazar has held the post since 2005. Early voting results showed her with a clear lead over Hinojosa and Arias, at 4,930 votes, or 49.77%.
Prior to her service as JP, Salazar was a Brownsville Independent School District Trustee, a former Deputy Clerk and Criminal Supervisor for the Cameron County Clerk’s Office, and served 17 years as Court Coordinator for retired Judge Menton Murray Jr. of the 103rd District Court, according to her campaign’s Facebook page.
“Friends and Family thank you so much for all your support. We have reached the finish line and in order to come out strong I need you to go out and vote today,” she urged supporters in an Election Day post.
Fred Arias, one of two challengers to Salazar’s seat, said on Tuesday afternoon that he suspected the election could go to a runoff.
“It’s been really challenging. We’ve been out, working super hard. We’ve given it all we could, and we’ll wait for the results,” said Arias on Tuesday afternoon, gathered with volunteers outside the polling station.
The third challenger to incumbent Salazar, Cynthia “Cyndi” Hinojosa, said that in the event of a runoff election, she would be honored to be one of the candidates competing for the nomination. “What I would like to do if I were to win or make the runoff is start focusing more on the actual duties of the JP. I’ve seen that there’s a need, if you’ve researched this particular JP court — it has a very high dismissal rate.”
“There’s a great ability to be able to collect much-needed revenue. When you actually do the duties you were elected to do, you would also be protecting the community,” she said, adding that Salazar’s court allegedly dismissed 10,000 cases last year.
“The law isn’t being adhered to with such high dismissals,” said Hinojosa. She added that another important agenda item in the event she won the seat would be to make herself available from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every weekday.
“I’ve had people tell me that you cannot get an appointment with this court, that there is a four-month waiting period, that there’s a waiting period because the judge is not available. I try to address these things,” she said.