By Juan Montoya
Well, the the Texas Democratic Party at its annual convention decided to have former Cameron County Judge Gilberto Hinojosa be its chairman for two more years.
Hinojosa, fresh from his defeat in an Hidalgo County District Court defending the use of questionable mail-in votes there, took a contingent of the Cameron County faithful to buttress his candidacy for re-election to the the moribund party.
There is virtually no statewide important Democratic office holders in the state. The governor is a Republican as are the two state senators.
And most irksome to Gilbert is the fact that he was not only personally defeated for county judge here by a Republican, but that his candidate in the last go-round (John Wood) lost to incumbent Carlos Cascos, the GOP incumbent who beat him.
In other words, this year's general election is a personal matter to Hinojosa.
Pollsters say that if Cascos can get 16 percent of the independent voters in the November general election to darken the oval for him, he's in. Any more than that and he's a shoo-in.
His opponent, County Clerk Joe Rivera, has been an officeholder in the county for the past 36 years. He, Hinojosa an Sylvia Perez-Garza ( the Democratic party's Cameron County Clerk-elect) have reached an understanding to run for their respective positions after Garza-Perez had initially announced for Rivera's position. Hinojosa and wife Cindy smoothed over the waters after a very public dispute over party protocol in electing officers.
They, however, reached a modus vivendi and they are working in tandem to deny Cascos a third term.
Many Democrats say that this year's apparent unity among the Democrats will prove a prohibitive hurdle for Cascos, but experience in past elections say that anything can happen. This, after all, is the county who elected Tony Garza to county judge over former Demo paladin Ray Ramon, the first since Reconstruction.
On hand to assure the Hinojosa victory were the likes of Garza-Perez and hubby Rudy, Rivera, and a host of county Demo faithful.
We must say that it was disconcerting to see the "Vote to Re-Elect Gilberto Hinojosa" signs sported by his supporters at the convention. It kind of brought back visions of the bad ol' days when the mustachioed pol used to control Cameron County with an iron fist.
With four months left before the November general election, we're eager to see whether the big money from the statewide Democratic Party will filter down to support Rivera's shot at its redemption here. There was some bloodletting here among Democrats during the primary process but party faithful say that's all been stanched and forgotten
Will this November see a united Democratic Party take on Cascos and 35th District Judge nominee Oscar X Garcia and finally win? Or will the rancor of the past and the corruption trials of overwhelmingly Democrat office holder turn the tide in the direction of the GOP candidates?