McAllen sees heaviest early voting since 2005

McALLEN — There were 5,476 early votes cast in person for this year’s municipal election, the most since the 2005 election, which saw 7,360 early votes cast in person for the general and runoff election, according to the City Secretary’s Office.

In the 2005 election, current District 1 Commissioner Richard Cortez beat out Ricardo “Ric” Godinez and Othal Brand Sr. to become mayor. Brand was longtime mayor of McAllen from 1977 to 1997. Godinez is current chairman of the Hidalgo County Democratic Party.

Brand’s son, Othal E. Brand Jr., is running against incumbent Mayor Jim Darling, who was elected in 2013. The election is Saturday.

The City Secretary’s Office said it mailed out 504 ballots and has received back 294 as of Thursday. There were 926 mail-in ballots in the 2005 election. The city has not received more than 35 mail-in ballots since the 2005 election.

When Darling won the 2013 mayoral election, there were 4,056 early votes cast in person. Before this year, that was the most since 2005. There were just 15 mail-in ballots in 2013.

Brand is simultaneously general manager and president of the board of the Hidalgo County Water Improvement District 3. Darling was longtime city attorney before becoming a two-term city commissioner prior to being mayor.