One day before El Pasoans vote to choose their next mayor, both candidates remained confident that they had a fighting chance at the job.
Oscar Leeser, who nearly won during the May election, looks to be the favorite, according to UTEP political science professor Dr. Gregory Rocha. However, Rocha points out that with a runoff election, the most important step is to get your supporters to the polls.
It appears voters are heading to the polls. When early voting wrapped this week, 3,000 more people had already cast their vote than during the early voting period during the May election.
“Keep in mind how we’ve said, half the voters have theoretically cast their votes,” said Rocha.
Both candidates looked at the numbers differently. Steve Ortega, who has served the past eight years on City Council, said it looked like people were heading to the polls to voice their displeasure in Leeser. Ortega recently began running attack campaigns on Leeser because he never squared off in a debate. The two candidates' only debate head-to-head occurred one day after the election on ABC-7 Xtra.
“If you’re part of a campaign and you refuse to show up to forums and to debates you’re really robbing the community of the opportunity to listen to both of the candidates and decide who to vote for,” said Ortega.
Rocha told ABC-7 that he viewed the decision as a common strategy given Leeser's lead. Leeser said he was surprised that his lack of debating Ortega in recent days stirred those on the other side.
“We have not taken anything for granted,” said Leeser. “We have 30 people working the campaign, working the streets and working the phones. We’ve communicated, whether by phone or in person, to over 55,000 people.”