Sheriff takes Democratic nomination

Incumbent Hidalgo County Sheriff J.E. "Eddie" Guerra is congratulated during a watch party at Costa Messa restaurant on Tuesday, Mar. 3, 2020, in McAllen. (Joel Martinez | jmartinez@themonitor.com)

EDINBURG — Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra received more than twice as many votes as his most ardent opponent Tuesday night, according to unofficial tallies from the county’s elections office.

Guerra coasted into his third term as sheriff after obtaining 63% of the vote during the March primary election, as of press time Tuesday. More than 38,000 people cast a vote in his favor.

These figures reflect votes cast from more than 85% of precincts.

The race marked the first time the incumbent faced Democratic challengers since his appointment to the post in 2014 following the resignation of former Sheriff Lupe Treviño amid a public corruption scandal. Before this appointment, however, Guerra won an election as a Hidalgo County constable.

Frank Guerrero, who managed a federal immigration prison in New York, presented the biggest challenge yet for the incumbent. Still, Guerrero only obtained 28% of the vote with more than 17,000 votes cast in his favor.

Raul Salinas, a third Democratic candidate, garnered 10% of the vote with more than 6,000 votes.

And while Guerra could not be reached for comment as of press time Tuesday, Guerrero had plenty to say about the night’s winner.

“The better man did not win; the better cop did not win; the better politician won,” Guerrero said about the sheriff. “Nobody is going to tell me that dirty politics belong in Hidalgo County. Obviously they work, but they don’t belong.”

Throughout the campaign trail, the pair butted heads over a number of issues, including jail overcrowding, employee morale and safeguards to avoid corruption.

Still, the biggest point they disagreed on was the county’s crime rate. Guerrero insisted it had risen, while Guerra argued it had decreased by about 25%.

And despite the loss, Guerrero said he wouldn’t do anything different given the chance.

“I’m humbled by this opportunity. It was a great journey and we did everything we possibly (could),” he said.

Guerra will now face Republican challenger Ezequiel “Zeik” Jurado in the November General election. Jurado received more than 9,800 votes in the March GOP primary.