Roma sees low voter turnout in special election

ROMA — Voting has so far been slow in the lone Starr County race this election season.

The city of Roma, with just more than 5,000 eligible voters, has had about 220 votes cast during the first week of early voting in their special election and 44 mail-in votes, according to City Secretary Liliana Sandoval.

The special election is being held to replace former Council Member Carlos Gonzalez Jr., who resigned from his Place 4 seat in August to take a job as the superintendent for the Zapata school district.

Whoever wins the election will finish out the year remaining in Gonzalez’s term.

The two candidates are Joel Hinojosa Jr., a health plan technician with the state’s department of Health and Human Services, and Joe Medrano, owner of an insurance company.

Hinojosa is campaigning to return to the council as he was previously elected to the City Council in 2013. In 2016, he lost his re-election bid to fellow Council Member Ramiro Sarabia. A change to the city charter eliminated one seat on the council, pitting him and Sarabia against each other.

Given that he’s already served on the council and therefore is a familiar face, Hinojosa said he feels confident he’ll emerge victorious on Election Day.

Medrano, his opponent, did not return requests for comment.

“You want a familiar person, you want somebody you can walk up to,” Hinojosa said. “You want somebody that you can talk to and I’m the man.”

Voters still have enough time to decide who they want on the council as early voting continues until Friday, Nov. 3, at the Roma Community Center, located at 502 6th St.

Polls will be open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. except on Wed. Nov. 1 when they will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

On Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 7, polls will again be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.