Today I am going to share with you the story of how the “guru extraordinaire” of El Paso politics was handed his ass in the last election. The truth is so outrageous you might be tempted to believe it is exaggerated, but I promise you, the story you are about to read is exactly as it was relayed to me. The little facts that I can ascertain, via third-parties or documents, verify the story. I truly believe this is the story of how Jaime Abeytia’s political savviness is nothing more than the delusional fantasy created by himself for his own egotistical need to feel needed in El Paso’s political circles.
At center stage is Katheryn Lucero, formerly known as Katheryn Hairston and often cited as Abeytia’s paramour. Lucero was running for Dog Catcher against the incumbent and another contender. I know what some of you are thinking – dog catcher – but, I thought the office was Justice of the Peace No: 5? Let’s get real here for a moment, justice of the peace is the dog catcher of politics. It is an office that was created in England, centuries ago, to fill a void in trained lawyers. It is archaic now in the grand scheme of things.
In the United States, the justice of the peace is retained in eight states, including Texas. For the most part, they marry people and adjudicate civil and small misdemeanor cases. They can levy fines of up to a few hundred dollars and in very limited cases, jail people for up to three days.
But they neither have to be lawyers nor have completed any formal education, except for the 80 hours of education mandated by the State of Texas. If you believe that mandated training is enough, ask any member of the Bar and see what they have to say about the Justice of the Peace system. It isn’t pretty.
Most JPs will want you to believe that they are “well-versed” in the law but, in reality, they are individuals who want to be called “judge” without working for the title. Just ask John John Chatman, who demands to be addressed as “judge,” even by his friends. It’s the single most important reason Chatman did not win outright. Thus, the office is nothing more than an unearned glamour title for those unwilling to work to achieve the title they covet.
Most of us assumed that the dog catcher race would be an easy win for Jaime Abeytia, especially because of his self-ascribed “political guru” credentials. But, as they say, the truth is stranger than fiction.
As you likely know, running a political candidacy requires some knowledge of local politics and the support of local politicos to bolster the candidate, especially in the dog catcher race.
In contention for the seat were the incumbent, Johnnie “John John” Chatman who sees a computer as a very complicated calculator that takes up space on his desk. Challenging him was Katheryn Lucero, being advised by Jaime “political guru” Abeytia and Lucilla “Lucy” Najera.
Chatman raised over $7,000 in campaign contributions and spent over $11,000. Overall, Chatman spent $3.63 per vote (3,222) he received. Chatman placed first and is facing a runoff against Najera. But before we get to Najera, let us look at Abeytia’s political savviness in running Lucero’s dog catcher race.
Katheryn Lucero raised about $5,000 through the financial disclosure form filed eight days before the election. Abeytia’s concubine spent about $2,700 for dog catcher number 5, or about $1.27 per vote. What did Lucero get from Abeytia’s political “expertise”? A dismal third-pace finish. Was it a lack of money? No, not really, because Lucero raised about $5,000 with some of the usual suspects donating to her campaign, i.e. Ralph Adame, Richard Castro and Brian Kennedy, among others. So maybe Lucero was out-strategized and out-monied by the remaining opponent in the race?
This is where the truth is stranger than fiction. Lucilla “Lucy” Najera did not raise any money and she spent $2,129.25 ($0.92 per vote) of her own money to force Chatman into a runoff election. Clearly, Najera did not outspend Lucero, so she must have out strategized her? Right? “Not so fast kemosabe,” as “political guru” Abeytia likes to write on his blog.
Sit back, grab a cup of coffee or a beer, depending on what time you are reading this, and get ready to see how Jaime “political guru of El Paso” got his ass handed to him and in the process put his girlfriend out to political pasture. As much as you might want to believe it is fiction, it is the unvarnished and poignant truth.
When Lucy Najera was asked recently what her political strategy was to beat the “political guru of El Paso,” she looked up at her interrogator, with a blank look on her face, and asked innocently, “strategy, what do you mean, strategy”? Najera was asked, what did she do to come in second in the dog catcher race. Najera, slyly looked up at the sky and with a twinkle in her eye and a finger pointed up at the sky, she insinuated God led her to victory. But what was the strategy remained as the question of the day. Najera responded that it was simply walking the streets. Which streets was the obvious question, how did you pick which houses to visit? What list did you use was the persistent question.
“List”, asked Lucy Najera, “What list?”
The voter list, “how did you pick which voters you were going to visit” was the persistent question. That drew a blank stare and a response from Najera, “what do you mean,” she asked. Candidates get a list of voters that cast votes in the last election and use those to block walk, was the explanation to her.
“Voters who voted in the last election, well, isn’t that illegal,” she asked.
After clarifying for her that lists of those who cast a vote in an election are public information records, Najera wanted to know more about the lists. It was explained to Lucy Najera that the lists can be attained from the County Elections Department or via the Democratic Party’s Voter Activation Network, or VAN. Van, asked Najera “we didn’t need to rent a van for the election” she responded to the shocked faces around her.
Remember that Jaime Abeytia is the self-proclaimed VAN guru of El Paso.
Najera explained that she didn’t use any walking lists for block walking, instead, the husband-and-wife Najera team would follow Dori Fenenbock/Veronica Escobar campaign teams. Whenever they came across a house with a campaign door hanger for either, or both, they would add Lucy Najera’s door hanger. Sometimes they would talk to the household voter.
Surely, you must have done some type of polling was the next question. “Polling?” Yes, “we had people at four of the polls”, was her incredulous answer. No one dared asked the question about push polling because they were afraid of what the answer might be.
Shortly after the polls closed, Lucy Najera’s political insights thought it would be a great idea to call Katheryn Lucero, who was barely recovering from the horror of her loss and asked her for her endorsement. You all know what the likely answer to that question was.
Some of you might have noticed that Jaime Abeytia accused the Najera’s of stealing Lucero’s political signs on social media a few days before the election. Most people who have had contact with the Najera’s do not believe that to be true because they just don’t see the Najeras’ as capable of doing that.
The dog catcher no 5 race is now down to the incumbent John John Chatman and Lucy Najera. Historically, incumbents generally lose an election when forced into a runoff.
Considering that the justice of the peace is supposed to adjudicate legal arguments and the fact that JPs are not required to be lawyers brings up an interesting but serious question, should Lucy Najera be able to have the authority to fine people, and possibly, put them in jail?
As for Jaime “political guru” Abeytia, you may have noticed that he has been uncharacteristically silent after the election. I wonder why.
But I wouldn’t be surprised if the self-proclaimed “political guru” of El Paso comes out swinging, alleging that it was all a conspiracy against his paramour, Lucero.
For Abeytia, it was just not about his “campaign strategist” label, but also as a revenue source for himself. The thing that JPs covet the most, besides the “judge” title, is the money they make from marrying people. JPs charge for marrying people. For Abeytia, that was a gravy train waiting to be milked. Abeytia’s other “expertise” is DJing and creating brochures and videos. Hmmm, I wonder who Lucero would have pimped out to the marrying couples that she was officiating for?
But, here is another tidbit to consider. Remember how Jaime Abeytia was involved in the controversy involving Claudia Ordaz, now Perez, and her texting at a city council meeting? Remember the times Abeytia tells all that will listen how close he is to Vince and Claudia Perez? More importantly, remember how Jaime Abeytia acted as Veronica Escobar’s attack dog when Escobar needed political cover?
The question you should all be asking today, is where were Vince/Claudia Perez, Susie Byrd and Veronica Escobar when Jaime Abeytia needed their help to get Katheryn Lucero elected into the dog catcher office she desperately needs to keep Abeytia fed?
That should answer any lingering questions you might still have about politics in El Paso and Abeytia.