UVALDE, Texas – In the wake of the Robb Elementary School shooting that left 19 students and two teachers dead, activists pushed for a change in gun laws and campaigned for politicians who would support that.
But Nov. 8 showed voters in Uvalde aren’t ready for a revolution. They still support Gov. Greg Abbott and even re-elected a county commissioner who was the acting city police chief during the May 24 massacre.
About 46% of registered Uvalde County voters cast their ballots in this election — about on par with the 2018 midterms.
While early voting results showed majority support for Democratic candidates, the tide turned on election day when voters overwhelmingly supported not just Abbott, but Republicans in every statewide office.
The few democrats who were elected have held their seats for a long time.
County Judge William R. Mitchell has been an elected office holder in Uvalde for nearly 50 years, with 36 years as county judge.
Precinct 2 County Commissioner Mariano Pargas, Jr. is a Democrat and was unopposed until recent months when three write-in challengers emerged — Javier J. Cazares, Diana Olvedo-Karau and Julio Valdez. Cazares, is the father of a Robb Elementary victim, Jackie.
Pargas, who was also the interim Uvalde Police Department chief during the massacre, was suspended from the police department following the release of a Texas House Investigative Committee’s report on the shooting.
He’s been a county commissioner for 15 years and it’s evident that voters want him to remain in office.
But there were some hoping for change — parents and activists who not only took their grievances to local leaders, they went to Austin and Washington, D.C. to meet with lawmakers with less-than-desired results. Abbott did not call a special session to tighten gun laws. And Republican lawmakers shied away from discussing a ban on assault weapons or raising the age limit to buy assault from 18 to 21. Instead, elected leaders steered the conversation toward school safety and mental health.
Democratic State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, arguably the most outspoken political advocate for change in Uvalde, did not receive voter support there. While he was re-elected, Uvalde County voters chose his Republican opponent, Robert Garza, by a margin of 59% to 41%.
Choose Your Race
Mariano Pargas Jr.*(D)
Javier J. Cazares
(16 / 16)