Here’s a roundup of candidates in the May 6 election for Valley cities and schools

Races in McAllen, Pharr and San Benito are heating up as polls are about to open

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Early voting for the May 6 elections for Hidalgo County and Cameron County cities and schools begins Monday morning for a number of municipal and school district races.

Hidalgo County voters will also be deciding whether to approve a proposition for storm drainage improvements.

Proposition A for Hidalgo County Drainage District No. 1, if approved, would issue $195 million in bonds and the levying of tax in payment for improvements to the district’s storm drainage system.



Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez is set to face off against Ricardo “Rick” Predraza and former Pharr police chief and city manager Andy Harvey. The race for Place 1 on the city commissioner has incumbent Eleazar Guajardo going up against Edgar Rincon and Michael Pacheco.

Incumbents Ricardo Medina and Itza Flores are running unopposed for Places 5 and 6, respectively.


The race for District 4 on the McAllen City Commission has incumbent Rodolfo “Rudy” Castillo facing off against Javier Salazar. District 5 Commissioner Victor “Seby” Haddad and District 6 Commissioner Pepe Cabeza De Vaca are running unopposed for reelection.


The race for Place 5 on the San Juan City Commission pits incumbent Marco ‘Markie’ Villegas against challenger Pete Garcia. Place 4 Commissioner Leonardo “Lenny” Sanchez is running unopposed.


There are three races on the ballot for La Villa Board of Aldermen. They include Place 1, which has Betty Joe Rodriguez going up against ​​Jesus Rodriguez. The race for Place 2 has Amado J. Ramirez facing Criselda Munoz. ​And ​Manuel M. Hinojosa faces Mario Lopez for Place 3.


The city of Mercedes has three races on the ballot, with Mayor Oscar Montoya seeking reelection against challengers Cristella “Cris” De Leon Hernandez and Joaquin Hernandez.

The race for Place 3 city commissioner has incumbent Joe Martinez facing off against Leonel Benavidez and Leo Villarreal. Also seeking reelection is Place 1 Commissioner Jacob Casi Howell, who is running unopposed.


Mayor Ramiro Loya was appointed by the Peñitas City Council in August 2022 following the resignation of embattled former Mayor Rodrigo Lopez. Loya is looking to retain his seat as mayor against challenger Claudia Ochoa.

Also on the ballot is the race for Place 2 city councilmember, which has incumbent J.R. Flores going up against Marco “Mark” Delgado, and Place 4 has incumbent ​​Lupe Moreno facing off against Gicela Salinas.


Place 1 McAllen ISD trustee Marco Suarez, who is in sales, hopes to retain his seat on the school board as he faces UTRGV professor Lizzie Kittleman.

Place 4 incumbent Tony Forina, a field operations director for the county, will face challenger Erica De La Garza-Lopez, who is also in sales.

Danny Vela’s Place 5 seat on the board is up for grabs since he is not seeking reelection. Vying for his seat are Rojelio Aleman II, a veteran, and Aaron Daniel Rivera, an attorney.

Conrado “Ito” Alvarado is also not seeking reelection for his Place 2 seat. Lucia Regalado, an attorney, is running unopposed for Alvarado’s undefended post.


The Place 1 seat on the Sharyland ISD school board is up for grabs after incumbent Ricky Longoria announced that he would not seek reelection. Vying for his seat are Sergio Saenz, a self-employed Mission resident, and Meagan Sullivan, a Mission educational diagnostician.

The race for Place 2 on the school board includes incumbent Alejandro Rodriguez, a criminal investigator from Mission, who will seek to defend his seat against Julio Cerda, a Mission engineer.


Proposition A is on the Donna ISD ballot which, if passed, will allow the district to use $120 million of school building bonds for “the construction, renovation, acquisition and equipment of school facilities within the district and related infrastructure and the levying of a tax in payment thereof.”

As with previous elections, eligible voters will be able to cast their ballots at any of the 24 polling locations throughout Hidalgo County.

Hidalgo County voters will be able to vote at the following locations:

>> Sgt. Fernando de la Rosa Library, located at 416 N. Tower Road in Alamo

>> Alton Recreation Center, located at 349 Dawes Ave. in Alton

>> Amigos Del Valle, located at 1408 Silver Ave. in Donna

>> Sgt. Rodriguez Community Center, located at 320 W. Santa Rosa Ave. in Edcouch

>> San Carlos Endowment Center, located at 107 Sunflower Road in Edinburg

>> Elections Annex Building, located at 317 N. Closner Blvd. “Rear” in Edinburg

>> Elsa Municipal Court, located at 216 E. 4th St. in Elsa

>> Granjeno Public Facility, located at 6553 S. FM 494 in Granjeno

>> Hidalgo Public Library, located at 710 Ramon Ayala Drive in Hidalgo

>> La Villa City Hall, located at 916 Mike Chapa Road in La Villa

>> Fireman’s Pumphouse, located at 201 N. First St. in McAllen

>> Lark Community Center, located at 2601 Lark Ave. in McAllen

>> Palm View Community Center, located at 3401 Jordan Road in McAllen

>> South Texas College Nursing Campus Building B, located at 1901 S. McColl Road in McAllen

>> South Texas College Pecan Campus Building U, located at 3201 Pecan Blvd. in McAllen

>> Mercedes Civic Center, located at 520 E. Second St. in Mercedes

>> Bannworth Gym, located at 1822 N. Shary Road in Mission

>> Pct. 3 “The Mansion”, located at 2401 Moorefield Road in Palmview

>> Peñitas Public Library, located at 1111 S. Main St. in Peñitas

>> Development and Research Center, located at 850 W. Dicker Road in Pharr

>> Jose Pepe Salinas Center, located at 1011 W. Kelly Ave. in Pharr

>> Progreso Family Community Center, located at 510 N. FM 1015 in Weslaco

>> San Juan Memorial Library, located at 1010 S. Standard Ave. in San Juan

>> Business Visitor and Event Center, located at 275 S. Kansas Ave. in Weslaco

Early voting will be held from April 24 to May 2. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, May 1 and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 2.

All polls will be closed on Sunday, April 30.

Election day is Saturday, May 6. Voters will be able to cast their ballots between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. that day.

For more information, visit the Hidalgo County Elections website at, or call (956) 318-2570.


San Benito candidates are turning up the heat in some of the city’s hottest elections in years.

On Monday, early voting opens for the May 6 election, which could shift the balance of power on the San Benito city commission and the school district’s board of trustees.

The early voting period runs through May 2.


On the city commission, seven candidates are running in the election, with three seats up for grabs.

In one of the city’s hottest races, Mayor Rick Guerra, a retired Harlingen firefighter running for a second term, faces Commissioner Rene Garcia, a Social Security Administration claims specialist, and former Mayor Ben Gomez, a school district parent specialist.

In a contest that could shift the commission’s balance of power, Tom Goodman, a South Padre Island real estate broker, squares off against Eddie Abrego, San Benito High School’s assistant principal, in the race for the Place 1 seat which Garcia is vacating after winning office in 2020.

In the race for the Place 2 seat, Commissioner Rene Villafranco, a federal official who first won election in 2009, faces Deborah Ann Morales, the vice president of Texas Funeral Associates who serves on the city’s Economic Development Corporation board.


On the school board, four seats are open in an election that could shift the panel’s balance of power.

In the race for the board’s Place 4 seat, board member Orlando Lopez, a vascular specialist with a medical company running for a third term, faces Julian Joseph Rios, the manager of Chuy’s Custom Sports who serves as the city’s EDC president.

In the contest for Place 5 seat, board member Rudy Corona, an AT&T fiber technician running for a second term, squares off against Jack Garcia, a former district official who served as the city’s mayor who is working for the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley.

Running for the Place 6 seat, Ramiro Moreno, a Rio Hondo school district principal who’s served as the board’s president since winning election in 2020, faces Alex Reyna, a retired San Benito school district police officer.

In the race for the board’s Place 7 seat, board member Frutoso Gomez, a former longtime Cameron County chief appraiser whom the school board appointed to fulfill Janie Lopez’s term after she won the new state House of Representatives District 37 seat, faces Michael Vargas, the assistant public affairs director with the city of Pharr whom a group of residents removed as the school board’s president in 2019.


In Harlingen, two seats are up for grabs in the school district’s election.

In the race for the school board’s Place 1 seat, Gina Cano-Monreal, an administrator, faces Lorraine De Leon-Galarza, a retired registered nurse.

In the contest to fill the Place 2 seat being vacated by Javier DeLeon, Ricky Leal, vice president of First Community Bank, squares off against Israel Aguilar, a university professor.


With Trey Mendez not seeking reelection, four candidates have emerged with hopes of being elected the new mayor of Brownsville.

Brownsville native Erasmo Castro, who refers to himself as a wedding officiant, is vying for the mayoral seat and holds a bachelor’s degree in Christian Studies from Austin Graduate School of Theology. If elected, Castro has prioritized changing the makeup of city boards including the Brownsville Public Utilities Board, Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation and Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation.

Brownsville City Commissioner At-Large and GBIC Chair John Cowen Jr. is also running for mayor. He is currently the president of Cowen Group Ltd. and holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Finance from the University of Notre Dame.

A Corpus Christi native who’s lived in Brownsville for 16 years, Jennifer Stanton hopes to win the mayoral seat and currently owns a cleaning business. Her plans are to balance the city budget if elected and to address what she called “basic things” she says city administration “has been ignoring,” as well as resynchronizing traffic signals and improving city streets, among other priorities.

Jessica Tetreau, a lifelong Brownsville resident, currently serves as the District 2 city commissioner who’s now trying her hand at the mayoral office. She’s ventured into retail, e-commerce and Car Wash Plus, and urges street paving and drainage improvements as priorities if elected, as well as beginning same-day inspections and permitting, in addition to creating high-paying jobs and more.