Friday afternoon, District 1 Lubbock City Councilman Victor Hernandez announced he returned $2,500 in campaign donations to 10 different donors.  Hernandez is running for re-election in District 1. He is being challenged by Frank Gutierrez and Lana Bear Moore in May's Municipal Election.

Hernandez said that by reducing the costs for his campaign signs, he was then able to give the campaign donations back to the donors. "The cost of 4'x8' one-color sign is $215. A 12" by 18" one-color sign is $18," Hernandez said. "As I reviewed cost proposals for political signs I began to question whether or not there were better uses for the tens of thousands of dollars spent locally on political campaigns. I knew there way.  As a result I have returned the bulk of my campaign contributions received."

The 10 donors agreed to donate their Victor Hernandez campaign donations to the Lubbock Power & Light Helping Hand Program. Also, a small group supporters stood with Hernandez at Friday's press conference.

Rob Snyder,

Hernandez also issued a challenge to all municipal candidates to match the $2,500 donation his supporters made to the Helping Hand Program.

One of Hernandez's opponents is skeptical of the motivation for the donation.  The Lana Bear Moore campaign issued a statement, saying in part: "We wish Victor Hernandez was as concerned about helping Lubbock families pay their electric bills as a council member as he says he is as a candidate.

"Mr. Hernandez's press conference today was a distraction to his his blind support of the LP&L board in (sic) all its rate increases and outrages against its customers."

KFYO News asked Councilman Hernandez, 'What would you say to someone who said you're trying to buy District 1 votes with this donation to the LP&L program that helps low-income customers?' Hernandez replied, "Actually, I think it's the other way around. I think what I'm trying to show is that my seat is not up for sale.  I'm not accepting contributions from this point forward."

Hernandez was also asked why he selected a Lubbock Power & Light charity and not a different organization like Catholic charities? "The truth of the matter is that LP&L has been under fire because of a rate hike since last June," he said. "LP&L is in fact part of the City of Lubbock...  it just seemed like a natural (fit)."

KFYO News additionally asked Hernandez about the timing of today's announcement:  'Why now, essentially a month before the election and not back when the candidate filing deadline took place?' Hernandez replied, "The reason this kinda got pushed at the forefront is because of two reasons. Number one, we were at that juncture where we were gonna have to spend money for signs, or not. Secondly, the (campaign finance) filing period that was due yesterday. We were at crossroads and we were going to have to turn right or left, and I said let's go this route."