Besides her brother Moises, she is survived by her mother, another brother, Victor, and a sister, Gabby. Her father died in 2014.
Neither parent went to college and it was important to them that their children received a good education. All four siblings are college graduates; Lillian graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a political science degree in 2002.
Rather than going straight to law school, she spent several years teaching college science in El Paso. “Kids flocked to her because she had this flawless personality,” said Christina Klaes, a fellow teacher and friend.
Ms. Blancas left teaching in 2006 and graduated three years later from Texas Tech University’s law school. She quickly joined the El Paso District Attorney’s Office. It was part of his plan: to gain experience as a prosecutor, become a public defender, drag his own pebbles, and run for a seat on the bench.
As a public defender, she has handled capital murder cases and defended poor, often very young clients, said Heather Hall, a lawyer in the public defender’s office. In her spare time, Ms. Blancas mentored lawyers who wanted to work with clients who were destitute or had mental health issues.
“Lila had that silver tongue as a lawyer,” said Amanda Enriquez, lawyer and friend, “but she was full of empathy and compassion.”
Ms Blancas tested positive for Covid on Halloween; three days later, she won 40 percent of the vote in the election, sending her and Mr. Holguin to a second round. Illness prevented her from actively campaigning. She entered the hospital twice before being sent to intensive care, where she died.