The El Paso Mayor’s Race of 1975

In 1974, Mayor Fred Hervey decided not to run for reelection in 1975 and backed  parks and recreation alderman, Don Henderson,who was elected on the Fred Hervey slate of candidates in 1973. Henderson emerged as the front runner . Henderson ran a low key campaign,running on his experience in government and in business. Fiscal Responsibility and a creation of transportation  system in el paso was part of his platform. He ran with a slate of candidate  called ” The Greater El Paso Ticket”. The ticket were  composed of housewife and activist,Arlene Quenon, Veterinarian, Dr. J.B. Jones,Engineer,Richard Najera, and alderman, builder,Manny Baeza  who was also elected on the Fred Hervey ticket in 1973.

Henderson was not the only Hervey team member to run for mayor,Mayor Pro tem and alderman,Ruben Schaeffer ran a partisan campaign ,running as a democrat and criticizing Henderson for being a republican. Some criticized this move because the city elections was non-partisan and Mayor Henderson suggested Schaeffer lost the race because of  running as a democrat. Scheaffer had a slate of candidates for alderman that said was a all democratic ticket,but Henderson got some democrat to run on his ticket.

Old Political Warhorse,Woodrow Bean threw his hat in the race for mayor running as a independent ,but also got support from local democratic party activists and leaders. Bean did  not see eye to eye with Hervey and at one point at city hall  he got into a shouting match with mayor. The Henderson campain and his allies including the el paso newspapers criticized bean for his failure to pay his income taxes in 1962,but bean took responsibility and did probation but was expected back by the voters,when he was elected to the state board of education in 1974.

Bean hoped voter forgive him again to elect him mayor. He ran promising to lower utilities and said if he could not he would resign, However Henderson criticize his opponents for making that promise,calling it  a empty promise.  To counter his tax issues,bean called on all his opponents to release their income and  campaign finance records .

Schaeffer was called out by Mayor Hervey for distancing himself from the Hervey administration and criticizing  it,since  he was a team member until he decided to run for mayor. Schaeffer bulked tradition.

Both  Henderson and Bean fought it out in a runoff. Henderson won a close race.

Joseph Longo

EPHS Curator

Since 1954 the El Paso County Historical Society has been a driving force in the historic scene of El Paso. EPCHS strives to foster research into the history of the El Paso area; acquire and make available to the public historic materials; publish and encourage historical writing pertaining to the area; and to develop public consciousness of our rich heritage.