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TribBlog: Chavez to decide on Senate by Turkey Day

As candidates stack up to challenge her, state Rep. Norma Chavez, D-El Paso, said she will make a decision about running for the Texas Senate by Thanksgiving.

State Rep. Norma Chavez, D-El Paso, said she will make a decision about running for the Texas Senate by Thanksgiving.

This morning Chavez sounded like she might be backing away from making a go at the seat state Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso, will be vacating.

She said some of her constituents are concerned about losing the seniority she has in the Texas House. She’s been in the chamber since 1997 and has a seat on the important budget-writing Appropriations Committee and is on the powerful Calendars Committee, which helps set the Texas House agenda.

Plus, she said, the news about her this year hasn’t been all positive.

A story in the El Paso Times about unpleasantness between Chavez and fellow El Paso Democrat state Rep. Marisa Marquez set the entire Capitol abuzz at the end of the legislative session.

At one point Chavez, 49, uninvited Marquez to a party in a text message that said — among other things — “U R not my friend.”

A subsequent story described how 17 lobbyists paid more than $3,500 for Chavez's elaborate graduation party when she got her bachelor’s degree this spring from the University of Texas at Austin.

“Obviously, I had the worst press this summer and the end of the (legislative) session, which complicates the issue,” Chavez said.

As Chavez weighs her political options, the list of Democratic candidates for her current House seat is getting longer seemingly by the day.

Today, former El Paso Community College Board member Antonio “Tony” San Roman, who runs a financial services business, said he plans to run regardless of Chavez’s decision.

“She’s done a lot of good things, I just think it’s time for her to look for other things and let new blood in,” said San Roman.

The 39-year-old Democrat, though, knows he’ll face some political guff over his own past. He counts disgraced former El Paso state Rep. Gilbert Serna as a friend and former employer.

Assistant El Paso County attorney Naomi Gonzalez said late last month she also plans to run in HD76 regardless of what Chavez does.

And, El Paso city Rep. Eddie Holguin, a friend of Chavez’s said, although "everything is speculation” for now, he would consider running for the House if Chavez decides to run for the Senate.

Chavez said she’s not worried about the pile-up of candidates for her House seat, and she’s not going to rush to a decision about which office she’ll run for.

“I have 13 years of experience, 13 years of accomplishments, so we’re trying to see what is the best thing right now for my political decision, but also for the community,” she said.

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State government 2010 elections José R. Rodríguez Texas House of Representatives Texas Legislature Texas Senate