The spring 2017 elections are in the books (almost) and so we congratulate the winners, as well as everyone who campaigned, and the voters for caring enough to hit the polls.
Most of the May 6 races were decidedly won, with only a couple — like two Mercedes city commission spots — that will go another round in upcoming runoff elections.
McAllen Mayor Jim Darling retains his post, having won over Othal E. Brand Jr., in a hard-fought campaign. Joaquin “J.J.” Zamora will move into the District 2 McAllen City Commission seat, having beaten Trey Pebley, which is only the first time an incumbent has lost a city of McAllen election since Othal Brand Sr., lost the mayoral election in 1997 to Leo Montalvo.
For the McAllen Independent School District Board of Trustees, voters chose incumbents over newcomers, with former Board President Debbie Crane Aliseda winning back a seat (she stepped down two years ago to run for city commission); and incumbents Larry Esparza, of Place 6, and Sam Saldivar Jr., of Place 7, both retaining seats.
Mercedes Mayor Henry Hinojosa was re-elected to a third term over challenger and soon-to-be former Place 1 Commissioner Jose M. Gomez. But nobody in the two city commission races garnered more than 50 percent of the votes, forcing upcoming runoffs to be scheduled for the Place 1 and 3 seats. Leo Villarreal and Leonel Benavidez will vie for the Place 1 seat; the Place 3 runoff will be between incumbent City Commissioner Armando Lopez and Cris De Leon Hernandez. The Mercedes City Commission is scheduled to canvass the votes during its May 16 meeting and will set a runoff date at that time.
In San Juan, longtime Mayor San Juanita Sanchez lost that post to challenger Mario Garza, a county probation officer. Voters there also approved a proposition allowing collective bargaining by firefighters and police officers.
La Grulla Mayor Pedro Flores held onto his post. City Commissioner Merardo Banda also was re-elected.
In Pharr, the Pharr Forward political alliance surged ahead of its challengers, winning all three city commission seats, and making it the majority alliance on the city commission. Place 2 incumbent Roberto “Bobby” Carrillo won re-election against Raul Gonzalez, a former city commissioner; Ramiro Caballero, a neonatologist physician, beat former city attorney Michael Pruneda for Place 3; and engineer Daniel Chavez won the Place 4 seat.
Voters are to be commended for participating in this important civic process, especially the extraordinary amount of early voting and mail-in ballots that were cast. Civic participation does not have to end with the election, however, and we remind voters to attend public meetings, reach out to their representatives, and let The Monitor know when issues need tending. The aforementioned all work for us, the taxpayers, but it is up to us to hold them all accountable.