As the final votes were tallied Saturday night it became clear that the race to fill the District 3 Brownsville City Commission seat being vacated by Melissa Zamora will stretch on for at least another month as no candidate was able to earn the necessary majority of votes to claim victory.
In unofficial results, Deborah Portillo gained her spot in the runoff by earning slightly more than 42 percent of the vote or 655 votes, but her challenger may not be decided until the official canvass, tentatively scheduled for May 21.
Martin Sarkis earned just two votes more than Rosalio “Leo” Rosales’ 402 to finish in second place, but provisional votes and corrections could mean either of the candidates could move on to face Portillo in a special runoff election in June or early July. Sarkis garnered 404 votes.
Cameron County Elections Administrator Chris Davis said to win the election a candidate must earn at least one vote more than 50 percent of votes cast, a feat no candidate in the District 3 race was able to accomplish.
The fourth candidate in the race, David Belleperche, received 5 percent of the votes cast or 79 votes, eliminating him from the running.
City Secretary Estela Von Hatten said the date of the runoff election will not be known until after the official canvass.
After provisional ballots have been considered and the results are verified, a resolution establishing the runoff will be passed. The election must be held between June 3 and July 8.
Davis said he anticipated the election would be held sometime in mid-June on a Saturday.
Portillo said she was glad for the opportunity to continue campaigning, saying she would continue working to get to know the residents of her district.
“I didn’t meet as many people as I wanted to,” she said, noting that now she would have extra time to share her vision with District 3 residents.
And as for her opponent, Portillo said it doesn’t matter who she runs against because it won’t affect her campaign strategy.
“Running is running,” she said. “I just focus on my job, what I’m doing and that’s all I can really control at this point is what I do and my campaign.”
Sarkis was glad to move on in the race, thanking God for the opportunity to continue running for office.
“I thank God for giving me the chance to be in this runoff,” he said. “I know I can take it. I can take it from here.”
Sarkis said he was excited with his second-place finish and looking forward to a clean race.
He also said he would not hold anything against Rosales if he asked for a recount in the race.
Rosales could not be reached for comment Saturday night.
Belleperche said he was happy with earning 5 percent of the vote and said he would consider running for office again someday.