Mission mayor’s race expected to head to runoff

EDINBURG — The Mission mayoral race will proceed to runoff after only one mail-in ballot was added to the election day totals, short of the three Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas needed on Election Day to secure victory.

Of the approximately 130 mail-in ballots pending for the May 5 elections, only one that was postmarked by the Election Day deadline was cast in the mayor’s race, according to unofficial numbers from the Hidalgo County Elections Department. The vote was cast in favor of Mission council member Armando O’Caña, bringing the total mail-in votes for him from 268 to 269.

Total votes cast for him are now at 2,571, bringing his vote-share to 41.64 percent. Salinas’ vote-share dropped to 49.96 percent. The numbers are unofficial until the results are canvassed by the city which is scheduled to take during a Mission city council meeting Monday afternoon.

This is the second consecutive time Salinas was forced into a runoff. In 2014, Salinas failed to secure a majority against businessman Jaime Gutierrez but eventually won re-election. Gutierrez, again, made a run for mayor this year but came in third place with 519 votes, 8.4 percent of the share.

In an interview earlier this week, Salinas said he was confident about his prospects given his performance in the previous runoff races.

Salinas also has experience running against O’Caña who had previously launched an unsuccessful bid against the mayor.

Despite his previous loss to Salinas, O’Caña said that he was excited about going into a runoff and that he would focus on bringing in more voters.

Upon filing to run for mayor, O’Caña gave up his position on the city council. However, he remained on the council until a special election determined his replacement. That election, also held on May 5, is also going into a runoff.

Both will take place on Saturday, June 9, with early voting held from Tuesday, May 29, through Tuesday, June 5. However, the polls will be closed on Sunday, June 3.