Who Has Predictions for the June 15 Police Chief Election?


SAN ANGELO, TX — On the eve of the police chief election runoff, voters, election watchers, and politicos are eager for predictions about who will win, Mike Hernandez or Travis Griffith. Saturday, June 15, is Election Day for the runoff, and polls are open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

We are not aware of any scientific polls taken prior to the runoff, but we can glean insights from early voting participation and past elections to offer talking points, if not clues.

On May 4, 2024, Mike Hernandez won the General Election but fell about 35 votes short of avoiding a runoff. Way before May 4, we conducted an informal survey of the candidates in late February and predicted that Travis Griffith could force a runoff. He was polling well even back then.

In all, 310 unique respondents participated in the voluntary February 2024 poll, which was sent to 16,300 San Angelo LIVE! email subscribers. Here are the results:

Survey of LIVE! Daily News Email subscribers conducted Feb. 22-23, 2024
Candidate Votes Percent
Mike Hernandez 158 50.97%
Travis Griffith 115 37.10%
Chris Cimino 19 6.19%
Unsure/No Selection 18 5.81%

Between late February and the May 4 Election Day, Hernandez had dropped a point to 49.5%, and Griffith surged to 46.51%, while the third candidate, Chris Cimino, dropped to 3.99%. In total, 6,639 ballots were cast. Notably, Hernandez outperformed in absentee and early voting by a significant amount, with 54.20% of the 772 absentee votes and 53.22% of the in-person early votes. Griffith closed the gap by outperforming in Election Day's in-person voting. San Angelo LIVE! article, May 5, 2024.

Casually, one can assume that if Griffith attracts all of Cimino’s voters, he wins by about half a point. However, this theory falters when considering the higher turnout. Much higher. There are 1,470 more in-person early voters and around 100 additional absentee voters for this runoff.

Here is a comparison of the voter turnout for the May 4 election versus the runoff:

Comparison of the voter turnout for the May 4, 2024 election versus the June 15, 2024 runoff
Type of Voting May 4 Election June 15 Runoff Difference
Absentee 772 800 +28
Early Voting 3,277 4,747 +1,470
Election Day 2,590    
Total 6639 5547 -1092

The takeaway is the early voting turnout is so large that only 1,092 fewer voters have participated in the runoff so far compared to the final results of the original election, and runoff Election Day turnout could see at least 2,500 voters if the May 4 turnout is duplicated.

Observers are considering the following:

  • Was the runoff Election Day turnout cannibalized by the high early voting turnout?
  • Assuming runoff Election Day turnout matches May 4 turnout, who are the new voters?
  • Four theories:
    • Griffith’s data-driven Get Out The Vote (GOTV) effort found ~1,500 new voters.
    • Hernandez changed strategies to GOTV and found ~1,500 new voters.
    • Threats of bad weather suppressed Election Day turnout on May 4, affecting voter participation.
    • A combination of all three factors.

The number of registered voters inside the city limits today is 52,495. The May 4 election saw 15.35%, or 6,639 of eligible voters, participate.

In 2008, then-Police Chief Tim Vasquez defeated four challengers without a runoff. While we cannot find the number of eligible voters within the city limits from 16 years ago, we assume the number was lower than the 52,495 registered voters of today due to population growth. For the May 2008 election, 9,602 citizens voted. Vasquez won with 51.99%. His nearest challenger, Ed Cunningham, had 18.67%.

To surpass the turnout of 2008, 4,055 voters will need to cast ballots on Saturday, June 15.

The polling locations open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters whose voter registration information shows his or her residence inside the city limits of San Angelo can cast their ballots at the following locations regardless of precinct:

  • Angelo Bible Church, 3506 Sherwood Way, Lobby
  • Belmore Baptist Church, 1214 S. Bell St., Fellowship Hall
  • Calvary Baptist Church, 2401 Armstrong St., Fellowship Center
  • Christoval Community Center, 20022 Main, Christoval, TX, Multi-purpose room
  • Concho Valley Transit District (Bus Depot), 506 N. Chadbourne St., Annex Building
  • SAF San Angelo First, 1442 Edmund Blvd., Fellowship Hall
  • Grape Creek Community Center, 8207 US Hwy 87N, Gene Marsh Board Room
  • Keating Paint & Body, 5050 N. Chadbourne St., Reception Area
  • Paulann Baptist Church, 2531 Smith Blvd., The Chapel
  • Oak Grove Senior Apartments, 4375 Oak Grove Blvd., Multi-purpose Room
  • Southgate Church of Christ, 528 Country Club Rd., Fellowship Hall
  • Southside Recreation Center, 2750 Ben Ficklin Rd., Multi-purpose Room
  • St. Ambrose Catholic Church, 8602 Loop 570, Wall, TX, Fellowship Hall
  • MHMR Concho Valley, Admin. Bldg., 1501 W. Beauregard Ave., Jack Ray Room
  • Veribest Baptist Church, 50 FM 2334, Veribest, TX, Fellowship Hall
  • Wesley United Trinity Methodist Church, 301 West 18th St., Fellowship Hall
  • TXDOT, 4502 Knickerbocker Rd., Bldg. E, Training Room
  • St. Mark Presbyterian Church, 2506 Johnson Ave., Fellowship Hall

That's right! As long as you are a resident inside the city limits, you can vote for police chief in Grape Creek or Christoval. For more about the police chief election, read The Police Chief Chronicles.

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