An Undecided Candidate

Justice of the Peace Jose “Kiko” Perez has once more said to outside media that he is undecided on a run for commissioner in 2020 despite the signs dispersed throughout the precinct.
Although state law specifies that if he announces his candidacy for another position he automatically resigns the definition of an announcement is vague. County Attorney Victor Canales, who would have to enforce state law doesn’t believe the actions of the Justice of the Peace constitutes an announcement.
The State of Texas defines a candidate as a person who knowingly and willingly takes affirmative action for the purpose of gaining nomination or election to public office or for the purpose of satisfying financial obligations incurred by the person in connection with the campaign for nomination or election.
Examples of affirmative action include making a campaign expense and even communicating the definite intent to run through any form of communication. Friends of the Justice of the Peace have not been shy in publicly saying that he will run. However, evidence of a communication has not been found and the signs state they were purchased by someone else.
One of the other examples is supporting or opposing one or more candidates, all of whom are identified and are seeking offices that are known. A sign next to someone up for re-elect could be viewed as support. What is more a sign next to someone rumored to be running for the position he would vacate could serve as evidence. Signs for Luis Garcia do have a picture of scale, imagery normally used to signify a judge. There is no other judge position that would be up for election in 2020 within his precinct.
A complaint filed with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct raises concerns over the dispute that he has not announced and that signs placed in between candidates could be considered an endorsement, something that a judge is not allowed to do. A similar complaint made against then Rio Grande City Municipal Judge Leonel J. “Pino” Lopez resulted in a public reprimand. Those claims however, were largely based on social media posts.
Perez has said that his decision won’t be made until he is sure that the current commissioner Jamie Alvarez will not seek re-election. Alvarez made an announcement publicly on February 4th through his social media account that he will not seek re-election. Aside from the announcement Alvarez had already told El Tejano he would not seek re-election. His own sister in law Tinita Alvarez had announced that she will run for the position. She has already spent on posters and print announcements.
Summaries made public by the Texas Attorney General do give opinion of certain situations but nothing that address signs with the date of an election is which the current position is not on the ballot. While Perez does state that someone else paid for the signs there is no indication that he will make any effort to remove them since he is undecided.
*This is part 2 of a series of article that digs into the Texas State law of automatic resignation of those seeking another position. It is based on a complaint submitted by a resident in regards to actions they felt merited an automatic resignation.

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