Villarreal beats Ruvalcaba for Brownsville’s At-Large ‘A’ commission seat

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Candidate Susan Ruvalcaba is pictured Saturday, June 17, 2023, for the municipal runoff election for city commissioner At-Large “A” outside the polling location at Burns Elementary in Brownsville. (Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)

Tino Villarreal prevailed over opponent Susan Ruvalcaba in Saturday’s runoff election for Brownsville City Commission At-Large “A,” according to unofficial results from the Cameron County Elections Department.

The runoff was scheduled after neither candidate managed to win 50 percent of the vote plus one in the May 6 General Election.

The At-Large “A” seat was previously held by John Cowen, now mayor of Brownsville.

Villarreal won 3,227 total votes (55.42 percent) to Ruvalcaba’s 2,596 votes (44.58 percent) with all 19 precincts reporting and a total of 5,823 ballots cast.

Brownsville has approximately 100,000 registered voters.

The unofficial early voting tally was 1,988 (42.24 percent) for Ruvalcaba and 2,718 (57.76 percent) for Villarreal.

Ruvalcaba, a registered nurse and part owner of Mesquite Home Health and Mi Torito Mexican Restaurant, wished her opponent well Saturday after the elections department had announced the results.

“Hopefully, he’ll do what’s right by the people,” she said. “And good luck to the people.”

Villarreal, athletic director and head football coach at Saint Joseph Academy since 2015, expressed deep gratitude to everyone who supported him during the campaign, “who brought passion and high purpose to our partnership and opened new doors — not just for our campaign but for Brownsville.

Villarreal, who was in London, England, chaperoning St. Joe students on Election Night, said he hopes to find common ground even with those who didn’t vote for him, “for it’s the closeness that can serve to remind us that we are one community with shared challenges and a shared destiny.”

He noted that the At-Large seat means his representation will be citywide rather than confined to one district.

“I am very grateful to everyone,” Villarreal noted. “I’m eager to get to work and to represent everyone.”