HARLINGEN — Candidates vying for the City Commission’s District 4 seat were knocking on doors along Harlingen’s south side Tuesday, shaking out support amid low voter turnout for Saturday’s runoff election.
After nearly a week of early voting, by Monday 215 residents had cast ballots in the runoff in which political newcomer Frank Morales, the top vote-getter in the May 1 election, faces former City Commissioner Basilio “Chino” Sanchez.
“It’s been a little bit slow,” City Secretary Amanda Elizondo said as voters trickled into City Hall to cast their ballots before the polls closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
“Usually, runoffs are a little bit slow,” she said. “Not many people come out to vote — and it’s summer so many people might be on vacation.”
In the May 1 election, Morales, a former textbook salesman, pulled the strongest showing in a four-man scramble for outgoing Commissioner Ruben De la Rosa’s seat, winning 233 votes while Sanchez pulled 141 votes to enter the runoff.
Meanwhile, Xavier Jaramillo, who works at his family-owned business Valley Wide Sprinkler Systems, drew 112 votes while Anselmo Aparicio Jr., a counter salesman, picked up 33 votes, each falling short of the runoff.
Sanchez counting on experience
Since the election, Morales and Sanchez have been pounding the streets in neighborhoods in the Bowie and Jefferson Elementary School areas.
“It’s kind of slow — it’s normal, especially in a runoff,” Sanchez, a retired newspaper production technician, said. “I feel good. A lot of people — my friends and family — are coming out and voting.”
Sanchez, who served in office from 2012 to 2015, said he’s got the experience for the job.
“I know the community. I know the people,” he said. “I support everybody. I work with the city of Harlingen. We have to work with the commissioners and the mayor.”
Morales picking up ‘overall support’
During his election campaign, Morales appeared to draw voters backing newly elected District 5 Commissioner Rene Perez and former Commissioner Robert Leftwich.
But Morales says he’s his “own man.”
On Tuesday, he was upbeat about his chances of victory.
“I’m nervous — this is the first time I’ve ever run for office,” he said. “But I’m very, very optimistic.”
As he stopped for a quick lunch, Morales said he was picking up support from a cross-section of the district.
“We’ve been working it,” he said. “We knock on doors. I’ve been going to churches. It’s been overall support.”
De la Rosa leaves seat to run for county commission
De la Rosa, a Texas Southmost College instructor who first won office in 2015, said he chose not to seek re-election after deciding to move his family to a home in District 5 while running for the Cameron County Commission’s Precinct 4 seat in the March 2022 election.