About a year and a half after constituents elected Abiel Flores to Mission City Council Place 3, the attorney announced his resignation in a Facebook post. And with his resignation, he also announced his intent to run for Hidalgo County District Court Judge in the March 2024 election.
“I am and will forever be grateful for the opportunity to serve as one of your council members,” Flores said, addressing the Mission community in his post. “Although my service has not been extensive, I have made every effort to follow through with the commitments I made during my campaign. I wish to continue serving Mission, however, just in a different capacity.”
Per the Texas constitution, if an elected official announces their intent to run for another elected office, it immediately triggers a resignation from their current position. The mayor and council accepted Flores’s resignation at the Oct. 23 city council meeting.
The attorney said he has always aspired to be a judge. He even ran for a judge’s seat for County Court-at-Law No. 9 in 2020 but lost the election to Patricia “Patty” O’Caña Olivarez. However, in the last month, the opportunity to run for county district court judge presented itself. After a discussion with his family, Flores said they decided now was the time to turn the page to the next chapter in his life.
“This decision is a career move. And so because the career move requires me to have to resign from my elected position here with the city, that’s the only reason [for the decision]. It’s not that I thought about which one offers anything more than the other. One is just a career and the other is service as far as to the community,” Flores said. “But the thing about this career move is it also offers the opportunity to serve the public, but yet through my career.”
The councilmember will continue to serve in his capacity until voters elect another successor in a special Dec. 9 election. The law requires the city to hold a special election within 120 days of the resignation. But due to primary election rules, Dec. 9 is the only day Mission can hold the vote.
“There cannot be another election that…piggybacks on a March primary, it can only be the primary,” City Secretary Anna Carrillo said. “And the reason for the [special] election being so quick before the 120 days is because there’s a blackout period of 30 days before the election and 30 days after the March primary. So if we were to wait to have an election in January, our possible runoff would be in that blackout period.”
According to Carrillo, staff will not know how much the election will cost the city until after Dec. 9 because the cost depends on voter turnout.
Flores was apologetic about his resignation resulting in an unforeseen expense for Mission. He said he tried to avoid a special election and wait until the primaries in March to save the city money, but the law does not allow for that scenario.
“I ask people to call the city secretary, the city attorney, whatever you need to do to confirm this but I truly, truly did not want to have the city spend money on an election for something that I’m doing on the personal side,” Flores said. “But unfortunately the law doesn’t allow it and therefore we’re forced to have an election; I apologize for that. But I’m truly doing this with the best of intentions and so I hope y’all understand.”
Candidate filings for the Dec. 9 election end Oct. 30. Early voting will start Nov. 22, close Nov. 23-24 for Thanksgiving and resume Nov. 27-Dec. 2. The polling sites are Mission Parks and Recreation and the Boys & Girls Club gym. They will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.