On Saturday, the city of Mission elected former city councilman Armando “Doc” O’Caña as its new mayor, and attorney Gus Martinez to fill O’Caña’s vacated city council seat.

The city’s May 5 local elections failed to garner a winner in two of its races, triggering Saturday’s runoff election. According to the unofficial runoff results, 17.5 percent (6,792) of Mission’s 38,624 registered voters returned to the polls for the runoff election, a nearly one and a half percent increase in turnout compared to May’s 16.17 percent.

What originally started as a three-way race in May resulted in a runoff election between Salinas and O’Caña when Salinas failed to win the majority by only three votes. On Saturday, O’Caña defeated incumbent mayor of 20 years, Norberto “Beto” Salinas by 157 votes. O’Caña received 51.1 percent (3,475), compared to Salinas’ 48.8 percent (3,318).

For O’Caña’s vacated city council seat, a special election and subsequent runoff was held between Gus Martinez and Julian J. Gonzalez. Martinez, who ran a ticketed slate with O’Caña, won the seat with 52.3 percent (3,443).

Salinas, who has been a strong advocate for Hidalgo County taxpayers, has openly questioned the hospital taxing district and the county’s spending for a new county courthouse. Salinas has also downplayed O’Cana’s platform of “change.” “When my opponents are asked point blank what they would change, they don’t have a good answer,” he told Texas Border Business.

However, changes were made on Saturday.

O’Cańa, who served ten years on city council during Salinas’ tenure, stated on Saturday, “I think the citizens of Mission are saying it’s time for change, time for something different, and that’s why they voted the way they did. I’ve pledged that as mayor, I will continue all the projects we have going on to see them through completion; I do believe they’re good for Mission.”

Salinas also responded to Saturday’s results. “God wanted it to happen this way,” he said.

One of the new changes O’Caña proposes is moving the city council meetings from 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm.

Swearing-in will occur at Mission City Hall on Monday, June 18th at 3:30 pm.

Miriam Cepeda

Miriam Cepeda is the Rio Grande Valley Bureau Chief for Texas Scorecard. A second-generation Mexican American, she is both fluent in English and Spanish and has been influential in grassroots organizing and conservative engagement within Hispanic communities. If you don’t find her “Trumping”, you can find her saving animals, running her dog, hiking the Andes, or volunteering with the U.S. National Park Service.

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