Mixed results: Mezmar, Perez win seats; newcomers in runoff

HARLINGEN — Schoolteacher Rene Perez defeated three-term City Commissioner Victor Leal while Commissioner Michael Mezmar fought off a challenge from former Commissioner Robert Leftwich as a former commissioner and a political newcomer head for a runoff.

Final tallies were not available as of press time late Saturday night.

In the race for District 5, Perez defeated Leal, a businessman vying for a fourth term.

“I feel awesome,” Perez said. “I don’t see it as a victory for myself — I see it as a victory for the citizens of District 5. The voters chose change. Our campaign resonated with the people. They felt we needed change.”

Meanwhile, Mezmar, a financial analyst, won his fourth term with a victory over Leftwich, a real estate broker who served in office from 2007 to 2013, when he chose not to seek re-election.

Mezmar could not be reached for comment.

In the race for District 4, Frank Morales, who is semi-retired after working as a salesman, will face former City Commission Basilio “Chino” Sanchez, a retired newspaper production technician who served in office from 2012 to 2015, in a runoff.

In the four-man scramble to fill outgoing two-term Commissioner Ruben De la Rosa’s seat, Xavier Jaramillo, who works for Valley Wide Sprinkler Systems; and Anselmo Aparicio Jr., a counter salesman, fell short of the runoff.

De la Rosa, 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 announcing he would run for the Cameron County Commission’s Precinct 4 seat in the March 2022 election.