By JONATHAN LEIJA
San Benito will have a new mayor as incumbent Benjamin Gomez lost to challengers Celeste Sanchez and Rick Guerra. Both challengers will face off in a run-off election in December. An exact date for that election has yet to be announced.
Sanchez, a former San Benito Mayor, and a longtime San Benito School District administrator claimed 2,098 unofficial votes election night as Guerra, who stepped down as city commissioner to run for mayor, garnered 2,211 to Gomez’s 1,727.
Gomez took to Facebook to write, “Thank you San Benito for your votes and support. To the candidates in a run-off, please keep the city moving forward. Thank you, God bless and I love you all.” On Wednesday, Sanchez’s campaign posted a graphic illustrating Gomez’s support for her continued campaign for mayor.
“Thanks to all for all the help and prayers,” Guerra wrote on his Facebook page. “I will be in the runoff with Celeste in December.”
For Commissioner Place 1, incumbent Tony Gonzales was defeated by first-timer Rene Garcia, 3,014-2,734.
On his Facebook page, Garcia went on write, “Thank you to all my voters and supporters. I truly appreciate your trust and confidence, and I will do my best to represent you as your City Commissioner.
Commissioner Place 2 will see another runoff election between newcomer Deborah Morales and incumbent Rene Villafranco. Challenger Daniel Cortez took 1,278 votes to Morales’s 2,129 and Villafranco’s 2,427.
At her campaign watch party, Morales said, “We have met a lot of good people, and made new friends with a lot of people that we didn’t know…Unfortunately it looks like we are going to have a run-off with Villafranco, and we look forward to going back out there and gaining the support of voters that couldn’t make it the first time to vote.”
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