State Representative René Oliveira, who first won his Brownsville-area statehouse seat in 1981, has been run off the electoral road by one-term Cameron County Commissioner Alex Dominguez. Oliveira nearly won the March primary outright with 48.5 percent, but his campaign appeared to swerve off course when he was arrested and charged with a DWI late last month. As of late Tuesday, Dominguez held a 13-point lead over Oliveira with nearly all votes counted.
Dominguez, who tried and failed to unseat Oliveira in 2012, criticized Oliveira during the primary campaign as neglecting his district, whose 39 percent poverty rate is one of the highest in the nation. Dominguez also accused Oliveira of spending too much campaign money on food and booze.
“It’s like his legislative office is in Cobbleheads [a Brownsville bar and grill],” Dominguez told the Observer in February. Indeed, on the night of Oliveira’s April arrest, he had recently left Cobbleheads when he crashed his Cadillac into a vehicle that was stopped at a traffic light, according to the Brownsville Herald.
Dominguez, who did not immediately return a call for comment, was dramatically outraised by Oliveira: From February 25 to May 12, the totals were $126,230 to $17,525.