Pharr Forward crushes Pharr First by 2-to-1 margin

PHARR — Pharr Forward has secured a stronghold on the city after winning all three seats in Saturday’s race.

The election marks the second time the up-and-coming slate takes the majority of seats up for grabs. When the group emerged two years ago, it won three of four seats, but failed to secure a majority over Pharr First, the competing slate comprised of veteran city politicians.

This year, however, two incumbents for the Pharr First slate — Oscar Elizondo Jr. and Edmund Maldonado Jr. — decided to vacate their seats, leaving the majority up for grabs.

And that’s when candidates for Pharr Strong, a third slate, stepped in and received the endorsement of the single member of the Pharr First slate left with a seat on the commission, Mario Bracamontes.

Saturday’s big win for Pharr Forward means Bracamontes will be the only voice on the seven-member commission who is not part of Pharr Forward.

The city previously refused to share contact information for the candidates with The Monitor, so none of them could be reached for comment Saturday evening.

In Place 2, incumbent Roberto “Bobby” Carrillo won his re-election bid against Raul Gonzalez, a former city commissioner. Carrillo obtained 65 percent of the votes with 2,777 ballots cast in his favor.

Ramiro Caballero, a neonatologist physician and member of the Pharr Economic Development Board, defeated Michael Pruneda, a former city attorney, for Place 3. The seat was vacated by Elizondo. Caballero obtained 66 percent of the votes, with 2,829 votes cast in his favor.

This was Caballero’s second attempt to win a seat on the commission. He made an unsuccessful bid against Pharr Commissioner Mario Bracamontes in 2015 and lost by 73 votes.

Daniel Chavez and San Juanita Elizondo Crum battled for Place 4, a seat vacated by Maldonado. Chavez, an engineer from south Pharr, won 65 percent of the votes, with 2,743 ballots cast in his favor.

Saturday marked the end of an election ripe with mudslinging and a new beginning for the city of Pharr, which will be clearly under Pharr Forward’s management.