Voting is underway again for four races that will decide who will have a seat on the McAllen city commission with the city’s runoff elections beginning Monday.
Following the general elections on May 1 — during which none of the candidates for mayor or city commission posts for Districts 1, 3 and 6 received more than 50% of the votes — the top two vote-getters in those races are now facing off against each other in the runoffs.
The two city commissioners running for mayor — Veronica Vela Whitacre and Javier Villalobos — made it to the runoffs as neither surpassed the 50% plus one vote threshold.
Villalobos finished with the most votes during the general with 2,610 votes while Whitacre received 2,381 votes, according to the final certification of the votes.
Since the May 1 election, the two candidates have continued their campaign efforts which have only grown more aggressive. During the general election, the two prided themselves on remaining positive during the campaign but as the field of candidates has narrowed, that’s changed.
Last week, Whitacre posted a video on her campaign’s Facebook page, criticisizing Villalobos’ response to a debate question about who was more qualified to the lead the city. Villalobos later responded with his own video, accusing Whitacre of mischaracterizing his comments.
In the District 1 race for commissioner, Lucia “Lucy” Thompson, an attorney, and Tony Aguirre Jr., a business owner and former member of the McAllen Public Utility Board, are running against each other.
Aguirre led in the general election with 1,181 votes and Thompson followed with 1,004 votes. The winner of the runoff will replace Villalobos as the District 1 commissioner.
For the District 3 race, incumbent Commissioner Omar Quintanilla is running for reelection against Thelma Tamez.
Quintanilla, senior vice president of Frost Bank, received 511 votes while Tamez, an entrepreneur and president of La Encantada Diversity, Equality, & Inclusion, received 313 votes.
In the special elections for District 6, Larry Esparza, a former board trustee for the McAllen Independent School District, is running against Pepe Cabeza de Vaca, assistant chief of staff for Hidalgo County Precinct 1 Commissioner David Fuentes.
In the general election, Cabeza de Vaca received 880 votes while Esparza received 479 votes.
While this year saw a higher turnout than the last mayoral election in 2017, turnout was only 13.79% of all registered voters. However, since the general, an additional 257 McAllen citizens registered to vote for a total of 73,725 registered voters.
Early voting will run every day through June 1 except for Sunday, May 30.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at three locations:
>> Firemen’s Pump House, 201 N. 1st St.
>> Lark Community Center, 2601 Lark Ave.
>> Palm View Community Center, 3401 Jordan Ave.