Sanchez wins special election for San Juan commission seat

SAN JUAN — A Palmview police officer will fill a vacant city commission seat here after a resounding win Saturday.

Lenny Sanchez will fill former San Juan Commissioner Raudel Maldonado’s seat for the last year left in his term. Maldonado vacated the office to run for county treasurer.

Sanchez, a police commander, received 922 votes, while his opponent Rolando Casas obtained 262.

“I’m feeling great,” the new commissioner said. “It’s an unexplainable feeling. It’s the first time I run for an election.”

Casas, who was having dinner with his family shortly after the results were announced, was gracious in his defeat.

“San Juan, no matter which way they went, still got a good commissioner to fill in for Raudy,” he said.

The race between Casas and Sanchez was an amicable one, according to both candidates.

“It was something that we both felt very strong about,” Casas said. “I tell people, politics are politics, friendships are friendships.”

However, he didn’t dismiss another run for office.

“Who knows? We might take another crack at it within a year,” he said.

For his part, Sanchez said he would try to make the most of his time in office.

“I got a lot of things on my mind that I want to do in this one year,” he said. “Make some noise, make some good things happen.”

Economic development will be one of his priorities to help offset the tax burden on residents.

“We have a basilica there that attracts one million visitors,” he said. “And we need to promote this so we can get sales tax revenue for the city.”