BEXAR COUNTY, Tex. (KTSA News) — As the FBI and the Texas Rangers raided her northwest San Antonio office as part of an investigation, Bexar County Precinct 2 Constable Michelle Barrientes Vela told a local television station Monday that she is officially running for office.
She had announced a few months ago she would be seeking reelection to her current seat.
“I’ve reconsidered my position here to seek another four years. I think with the support of my husband standing right next to me. We are going to go ahead and get formally announced (Monday) that yes, I will be seeking the chair and seat of the Sheriff’s Office within Bexar County,” Barrientes Vela told KSAT-TV in a parking lot.
The announcement came after the raid at Barrientes Vela’s office and after Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and County Commissioner Justin Rodriguez held a news conference talking about the raid. The judge said the Bexar County Commissioners Court had no role in the FBI and Texas Rangers investigation.
Wolff had asked the sheriff to offer security services to the constable’s precinct should it become necessary, to which Salazar agreed.
During the news conference, Wolff stated his displeasure of having a constable’s office, calling it an unnecessary duplication and a constitutional artifact.
“You are required by the state constitution to have at least four constable districts,” the county judge explained to a reporter. “When I got here, we had five and we did eliminate one. But we have no constitutional authority to eliminate any one of the remaining four. If it was left to me, there wouldn’t be one constable left in this county or anywhere else. It’s a duplication of what the sheriff’s office would do, it’s a relic of the past that’s stuck in the constitution and most people that go to vote on these offices have no idea who they are voting on. So if it was up to me, there wouldn’t be any constables, period.”
Barrientes Vela may have taken that sentiment to heart to make a heat of the moment decision to officially declare her run for public office to a television reporter.
But, that statement to KSAT-TV may have hurt her more than help.
The Texas Constitution states that officers in certain positions — including constable — with more than 13 months left in their current term but announce to run for another seat automatically resigns from their current seat.
Berrientes Vela has 15 months left on her term, meaning she would be subject to that stipuation.
She did not agree with KSAT-TV’s assessment.
Berrientes Vela told the station she was not in uniform when she made the announcement, so it doesn’t count.
“I haven’t announced anything as far as campaigning. I’ve never been campaigning when I announced anything in regular clothes,” the constable stated.