Uvalde County voters to decide political fate of several people who responded to Robb Elementary School shooting

Candidates include former mayor, incumbent sheriff, constables

Uvalde, Texas. (KSAT)

UVALDE, TexasFind more election coverage on the Vote 2024 page

The botched law enforcement response to the Robb Elementary School shooting has become a campaign topic for some of the candidates in Uvalde County seeking nomination to their political party in the Texas Primary on March 5.

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On the ballot are some candidates who were involved in some official capacity during the shooting that claimed the lives of 21 students and teachers on May 24, 2022.

As of Feb. 26, 1,713 residents have cast an early voting ballot. Early voting ends March 1 and election day is March 5.

State Representative, District 80

A handful of candidates are battling for the Texas House District 80 seat following the retirement announcement of incumbent state Rep. Tracy King, a conservative Democrat who held the seat since 2005.

The district includes Uvalde, Pleasanton, Poteet, Crystal City, Carrizo Springs and Pearsall.

Texas House District 80 (via Ballotpedia)


  • Don McLaughlin Jr., was mayor of Uvalde when the school shooting happened. He resigned to run for state office.
  • Clint Powell, mayor of Pleasanton and served 13 years as councilmember.
  • JR Ramirez, rancher in Uvalde.


  • Teresa Johnson Hernandez, owns several MRI clinics in Bruni.
  • Graciela Villarreal, is currently district director for State Rep. Richard Pena Raymond.
  • Rosie Cuellar, sister of longtime South Texas congressman Henry Cuellar
  • Carlos Lopez, small business owner, an educator and Uvalde County Democratic County Chairman.
  • Cecilia Castellano, President and CEO of a construction company in Somerset.

Uvalde County Sheriff

Sheriff Ruben Nolasco is running for a second term after first being elected in 2021.

Nolasco was one of the first responders present at Robb Elementary School on May 24, 2022. He was also named several times in the Department of Justice’s critical incident report into the mass shooting.

“I’m proud of the work my staff and I have done, but we’re not done yet. I have created a solid foundation that I will continue to build on. I ask for your vote and continued support in my re-election campaign to continue building a more efficient and modern office,” Nolasco said in a social media post.

Armando Garcia is also running for sheriff on the Republican ticket.

Garcia has worked in law enforcement for three decades and in Uvalde County for more than 20 years, according to a Facebook post.

Otto Arnim is another candidate vying for the seat on the Republican ballot.

In a post to his campaign page, Arnim said he’s running on a policy of transparency and accountability.

The last candidate on the Republican ticket for sheriff is Freddy Mares.

Mares has 30 years of law enforcement experience, “including Crime Scene Investigation, Tactical Patrol (certified for Active Shooter with Houston PD), Skeletal Death Remains, and various other areas,” according to his Facebook page.

Constable Precinct 1

Three people are on the Republican ballot for Constable Precinct 1 in Uvalde.

Johnny J. Field, the incumbent, has been making headlines since the shooting at Robb Elementary and the DOJ report that called out his failure to act to stop the killing.

Earlier this month, Field was scheduled to appear at a public forum at the Southwest Texas Junior College to answer questions from the public alongside his fellow candidates. According to the evening’s moderator, Field showed up but left before it was his turn to answer questions.

Max Dorflinger is another candidate vying for Precinct 1 Constable. Dorflinger shared on social media he’s been in law enforcement for nearly 20 years. Currently, he’s a detective with the Uvalde Police Department and has served 15 years with the sheriff’s office.

Like Field, Dorflinger responded to the Robb Elementary shooting and also appeared at the SWTJC candidate forum on Feb. 13 but left before being asked any questions.

The last candidate on the ballot is Paul “Wayne” Moss Jr., who also has a career in law enforcement and currently works as a criminal justice adjunct instructor at SWTJC.

Moss criticized the response from law enforcement to the school shooting, saying “The DOJ made it very clear it was a failure in every form and fashion.”

Constable Precinct 6

Emmanuel Zamora, the current Precinct 6 Constable, is running for re-election.

Zamora previously worked for the Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy. Like many others seeking re-election, Zamora responded to the Robb shooting, was called out in the DOJ report, and left before answering questions at the SWTJC candidate forum.

His challenger, Robert Moss, previously served as the constable for this precinct for 20 years and has almost three decades of service as a law enforcement officer.

In his campaign posts on social media, Moss calls out Zamora’s inaction during the Robb shooting, calling him the “Coward of the County” and “He had a bulletproof vest, handgun, and AR-15 rifle, but what he lacked was COURAGE.”

US Senator

The candidate field for the US Senator seat features a GOP incumbent and crowded Democratic field.


  • U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (Incumbent), has been in office since 2013.
  • R E (Rufus) Lopez, is an attorney in San Antonio.
  • Holland “Redd” Gibson, is retired and resides in Houston.


  • Mark Gonzalez, is a former district attorney in Nueces County.
  • Thierry Tchenko, is an executive of a nonprofit in Houston.
  • Colin Allred, a Dallas congressman and former NFL player.
  • Steven J. Keough, is a faculty member at St. Mary’s University School of Law.
  • State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who’s senatorial district includes Uvalde, has been very vocal about the botched law enforcement response and the need for more gun control.
  • Meri Gomez, is a tax consultant and accountant in the Rio Grande Valley.
  • A. “Robert” Hassan, is a businessman in Katy.
  • Carl Oscar Sherman, currently serves as Texas House of Representative District 109. He is also a former mayor of Desoto, a Dallas suburb.
  • Heli Rodriguez Prilliman, is an entrepreneur in Fort Worth.

District Attorney, 38th Judicial District

Incumbent DA Christina Mitchell is the only GOP candidate running for the District Attorney, 38th Judicial District (Uvalde and Real County) seat, meaning she’ll advance to the Nov. 5 general election. No Democrat is on the primary ballot.

The embattled district attorney has faced harsh criticism in her handling of the Robb Elementary School shooting investigation.

Recently, Mitchell has convened a grand jury that has begun calling officers who responded that day to testify.

About the Authors

Leigh Waldman is an investigative reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

David Ibañez has been managing editor of KSAT.com since the website's launch in October 2000.

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