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Darling draws no opponents in McAllen mayoral race

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Posted: Saturday, March 2, 2013 9:00 am

McALLEN — In May, McAllen’s ballot will list just one candidate for mayor: Jim Darling.

Nobody filed to run against mayoral candidate and City Commissioner Jim Darling, 64, the general counsel at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance. Without an opponent, Darling appears to have a lock on McAllen’s top job.

“I’m humbled,” Darling said Friday afternoon, minutes after the filing deadline passed.

The news interrupted Darling’s meeting with County Commissioner A.C. Cuellar and U.S. Congressman Ruben Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, on a project for the Delta area — not surprising for Darling, who has made regionalization a campaign pledge.

“I really want to thank everybody for supporting me up to this point,” Darling said. “I’m really looking forward to getting to work for McAllen and for the citizens.”

Few know City Hall better than Darling, who spent roughly 28 years as McAllen’s top attorney before running for the Commission six years ago. Darling narrowly won two races against Jose R. “Pepe” Cabeza de Vaca, the popular publisher of Social Life magazine.

Without an opponent for mayor, Darling said he’ll still campaign and attend candidate forums, but probably will purchase fewer signs. The uncontested race also will reduce fundraising pressure.

McAllen’s filing deadline for most City Commission and Public Utility Board seats passed quietly Friday. The City Secretary’s Office closed promptly at 5 p.m. without any last-minute ballot applications.

Candidates for Commission District 6 and Utility Board Place C — both special elections — must submit ballot applications by March 11.

By Friday, the following candidates had filed:

>> District 1: City Commissioner Scott Crane, 48, the businessman who runs Carwash Carwash, will run for a third term against challenger Ruben Daniel Elizondo, a 25-year-old student at University of Texas-Pan American studying English and psychology. District 1 covers northeast McAllen.

>> District 2: Public Utility Trustee Trey Pebley, 40, a contractor at McAllen Construction, will run unopposed for District 2, which covers northwest McAllen. Incumbent Commissioner Marcus Barrera decided not to run for re-election.

>> District 3: City Commissioner Hilda Salinas, 51, the lead counselor at Mission’s Veterans Memorial High School, filed for a fifth term. She’ll run against local banker Omar Quintanilla, 37, a familiar face on the city’s Community Development Block Grant advisory board. District 3 covers west-central McAllen.

>> Utility Place A: Trustee Charles Amos, 59, an electrician, will run for re-election against 46-year-old delinquent tax attorney Hiram A. Gutierrez.

>> Utility Place D: Trustee Ernie Williams, 71, a real estate agent, will run for a full four-year term against challenger Jaime Enriquez, 54, a contractor and engineer. It’s a rematch for Williams and Enriquez, who ran against each other during 2011.

Election Day is May 11.


Dave Hendricks covers McAllen and general assignments for The Monitor. He can be reached at (956) 683-4452 and dhendricks@themonitor.com.

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