Hidalgo County voters choose Sheriff Guerra for 4 more years

Hidalgo county sheriff candidate J.E. "Eddie" Guerra talks with supporters outside the Hidalgo County Elections Annex on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Edinburg. (Joel Martinez | jmartinez@themonitor.com)

Hidalgo County Sheriff J.E. “Eddie” Guerra handily won four more years in office, according to unofficial Election Day results.

Guerra, a Democrat, beat Republican challenger Ezequiel “Zeik” Jurado with 125,342 to Jurado’s 58,029 votes, or approximately 68% to 32% with approximately 87% of precincts reporting as of press time.

“Well, first of all, it’s been one of my greatest honors to be the sheriff of the seventh largest county in Texas and I want to thank all the voters that came out and voted for me and all my supporters. I want to thank them for giving me another four years of being their sheriff,” Guerra said.

Guerra faced his fiercest competition during the primary, when he faced his first challengers since being appointed in 2014 after former sheriff Lupe Treviño was caught up in a public corruption scandal that eventually sent the former lawman to federal prison.

During the primary, Guerra faced off against Frank Guerrero, who managed a federal immigration prison in New York and who lost after garnering 28% of the vote.

Raul Salinas, another Democratic challenger, only garnered 10% of the vote.

Guerra ran unopposed in the 2016 primary and beat Republican challenger Albert “Al” Perez with 121,858 votes compared to Perez’s 43,515 votes.

During an interview with The Monitor, Guerra said his biggest challenge during his next four years will be expanding the Hidalgo County Detention Center.

The county has had to house inmates outside the county because it is at capacity — a problem compounded this year by the coronavirus.

This is an added expense to the taxpayers.

Guerra said officials are looking at all avenues for expanding the jail, including a public-private or a public-public partnership.

The sheriff will also tackle expanding his staff within Hidalgo County’s future $150 million courthouse that is under construction and set for completion in 2021.

Guerra reiterated that challenge again Tuesday night while saying he will continue to maintain strong relationships with his office’s federal, state and local partners.

“It’s challenging when you have 21 different municipalities,” Guerra said.

The sheriff also said he’ll continue to bring assets to the Texas Transnational Intelligence Center while also continuing partnerships with the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office and the courts.

He expressed gratefulness Tuesday for the support.

“I also want to thank them for their vote of confidence and obviously they know that the sheriff’s office is headed in the right direction, and we’re going to continue to have the sheriff’s office continue in the right direction,” he said.