Considering the times of COVID-19, it was a great turnout at the Pleasanton River Park when voters were given the opportunity to hear from and interact with their candidates at the first ever 2020 General Election Candidate Forum on Oct. 22.
The event, sponsored by the Pleasanton Express, started at 6 p.m. under the big pavilion where candidates set up campaign tables with information on their races. All social distancing regulations were followed with masks and hand sanitizer available for free use. The following candidates were in attendance and interviewed in the order they appear:
• U.S. Representative, District 28: Congressman Henry Cuellar (D) via video and Sandra Whitten (R)
• State Senator, District 19: Senator Pete Flores (R) and Roland Gutierrez (D)
• State Senator, District 21: Senator Judith Zaffirini (D) via video and Pastor Frank Pomeroy (R)
• State Representative, District 31: Rep. Ryan Guillen
(D) and Marian Knowlton (R)
• Chief Justice, 4th Court of Appeals: Justice Rebeca Martinez (D) and Renee Yanta (R)
• Atascosa County Sheriff: Sheriff David Soward (R) and Rick Luna (D)
• County Commissioner, Precinct 1: Commissioner Mark Gillespie (R) and David Caballero (D)
• County Constable, Precinct 3: Constable Cregg Thompson (R) and Armando “Mando” Vidales (D)
Audrey Gossett Louis (R), 81st Judicial District Attorney, who is unopposed in the November 3 General Election, also provided an update on the works of her office.
Candidates spoke on their platforms for five minutes and were also available to speak to individuals and answer any questions they had. Due to winds that evening, the speeches were not broadcasted on Facebook live as previously advertised, but a video featuring each 5-minute speech can be seen on the Pleasanton Express Facebook page as well as our YouTube channel. Please take the time to watch the video and get to know the candidates who are on your ballot this year.
The Pleasanton Express wishes to thank the City of Pleasanton, Pleasanton Parks and Recreation Department, Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce, Jessica Tom, Julie Hilberg, Michael Pascarella and Donavan and Ronin Garcia of Pulse Productions for their hard work in making the candidate forum happen. We would also like to extend our thanks to each of the candidates for taking time out of their schedules to participate in the forum, whether in person or via video.
Atascosa County is now a countywide voting county which means you can vote at any of the polling locations listed in the graphics within this story. Early Voting ends this Friday, Oct. 30. You can vote any day this week until then from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at the locations listed. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3 from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. This year, curbside voting is also being offered at all polling locations listed. Upon arriving at your polling location, please call the Atascosa County Elections Office at 830-769- 1472 for assistance with curbside voting.
As of Monday, Oct. 26, approximately 11,733 people have voted in Atascosa County. That leaves about 17,000 voters who have yet to hit the polls this year. Be sure to watch the candidate speeches on the Pleasanton Express Facebook page and YouTube channel to hear from the candidates on your ballot this year.
Due to the large number of voters expected and the increase in mail in ballots, the Pleasanton Express will not be holding our newspaper until we receive the final numbers on election night. The final numbers most likely will not come in until the wee early hours of November 4. We will be updating the final numbers and the winners of each office on our e-edition’s front page, on our website at www.pleasantonexpress.com and on social media – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The Atascosa County Commissioners Court will hold a special-called meeting on November 16 to canvass the Nov. 3 Election Day votes.