EDINBURG — Municipal elections are nine months away, but the race for mayor is already shaping up.

Councilman Gilbert Enriquez announced his bid for mayor in a Facebook post Monday, saying serving as a council member for the past three years has been “one of the proudest achievements” of his life.

“What our city needs is a mayor who is going to continuously do what is best for Edinburg residents,” Enriquez said in his news release. “I am deliberate in my decisions and I evaluate all sides of a situation in order to make an educated choice. There is no place for personal interest in city politics.”

Enriquez’ announcement comes at the heels of a fundraising event reportedly held by Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina, who is still under federal indictment on felony voter fraud charges.

The Monitor obtained a copy of a flyer for a dinner fundraiser at Palenque Grill in Edinburg on Jan. 28. Sponsorships levels varied from $1,000 to $2,500 to $5,000. The event sparked questions about a possible run for reelection, but the mayor remains mum on the subject. He has not returned numerous calls seeking comment.

Meanwhile, his case remains tied up in court as the state figures out how to hold trials by jury during a pandemic. Those types of trials are tentatively set to resume in April, at their earliest.

Enriquez made a subtle remark about the turmoil the mayor’s case and the subsequent fallout between him and Molina’s faction caused in his news release.

After laying out some of the issues Enriquez hopes to tackle, including economic growth and hearing the concerns of all residents, his news release stated: “Above all, Enriquez hopes to continue to unify the community after a period of several years where tensions have been high and trust in the city government has suffered.”

When Enriquez first ran for his post in 2017, he was aligned with Molina and his political supporters, but after a few months in office, their relationship began to sour, and Enriquez soon found himself as the odd man out. That changed in 2019, when Molina lost control of the council.

Today, Enriquez continues to campaign on transparency, noting he also served as a school board member from 2000-2006.

“In my opinion, it all starts with integrity,” he said in his news release. “By prioritizing integrity and transparency, we can strengthen our community and move forward onto new business, jobs, and infrastructure. It will take a collective effort to get Edinburg where our residents want it to be, but I know we can get there together.”

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