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Texas Governor Greg Abbott has appointed a former judge and current attorney for the city of Mission to the 93rd State District Court in Hidalgo County: Republican Jaime Tijerina.

For 17 years, the 93rd District Court was under the Democratic judgeship of Rodolfo “Rudy” Delgado. However, since February, Delgado has undergone a series of events involving his former courtroom. He has been arrested, indicted, and suspended, and ultimately has resigned and retired from the bench amid federal bribery charges. In his resignation letter, Delgado said his decision doesn’t prove any culpability; it was “simply the right thing to do.”

Another potential motive for the retirement stems from recent legislation, Senate Bill 500, that details if an elected official is convicted “while in office,” his lucrative governmental pension will be removed, hinting at a calculated move to resign prior to conviction.

Since his arrest, the Fifth Administrative Judicial Region appointed retired Cameron County District Judge Robert Garza to replace Delgado in the 93rd District Court on a bi-weekly basis. Immediately after Delgado’s resignation on April 30, several democratic local attorneys have pitched their candidacy for the special election in November.

Judge Jaime Tijerina, candidate for 13th Court of Appeals.

On Tuesday, Abbott appointed Texans for Fiscal Responsibility-endorsed candidate Tijerina to fill the court’s vacancy.

“I’m thankful for the Governor’s support and humbled by the confidence he has in me to lead the 93rd District Court,” Tijerina told Texas Scorecard.

Although Delgado has resigned his seat on the bench, he still remains the Democratic nominee for 13th Court of Appeals Place 4 in November. Ironically, this is the same position Tijerina is seeking.

“This is a race that’s winnable,” especially now as a sitting judge, Tijerina states.

Early in May, Republican Party of Texas Chairman James Dickey stated:

Rodolfo “Rudy” Delgado must announce he is immediately discontinuing his campaign for the 13th Court of Appeals. He is not fit to serve as the 93rd District Court Judge, and he is not fit to serve on the 13th Court of Appeals. Our Courts must be filled by Texans who are ethical, servant leaders.

Tijerina, a lieutenant colonel and judge advocate in the U.S. Army Reserves, has a long, reputable resume and has received both TFR’s and Abbott’s endorsements for the 13th Court of Appeals.

“Jaime Tijerina is the voice we need now more than ever,” Abbott said. “He will serve the law of Texas as dutifully as he has served his country.”

The swearing-in ceremony for the 93rd District Court is to be set next Thursday at the Hidalgo County courthouse. While simultaneously looking ahead into his campaign for the 13th Court of Appeals, Judge Tijerina will be sitting comfortably in his opponent’s vacated seat until December 31.

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