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Dec. 15 runoff for Corpus Christi mayor

Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb (left) will face at-large Councilor Paulette Guajardo in a runoff election for mayor on Dec. 15. Courtesy photos

"It ain't over till it's over."

— American baseball legend Yogi Berra

While the nation awaits a final count in the presidential election, Corpus Christi prepares for another election, a runoff between the top two vote-getters in the race for mayor: incumbent Joe McComb and challenger Paulette Guajardo. The two topped eight other candidates to merit the head-to-head battle on Dec. 15, along with runoffs for the top two vote getters in the council seats for Districts 1 and 4.

The unofficial count shows McComb with 32.9 percent of the vote and Guajardo with 32.2 percent. They are separated by 751 votes out of a total of about 103,000 cast in the 10-person race.

To win, one candidate needed 50.1 percent of the vote. Both said they fully expected the race would lead to a runoff. With Nueces County Pct. 2 Commissioner Carolyn Vaughn also in the race, the question was which of the three biggest names would be on the next ballot.

McComb has been mayor since 2017, when he won a special election followed by the general election less than a year later. The special election was called after newly elected Mayor Dan McQueen resigned in the middle of a water crisis 37 days into the job.

“Runoff here we come!” McComb posted on his Facebook page. “Thank you to everyone who has supported my campaign thus far. Your support and enthusiasm mean the world to me.”

Guajardo won her at-large City Council position in 2016.

“I have a very strong faith that I know that whatever God’s will is for me, or was for me, tonight, that I will embrace,” she said at an election party Nov. 3 at Brewster Street Ice House. “Tonight, God’s will was that I was going to be in a runoff. I’m OK with that because we’re going to win the runoff. There’s nothing in life worth fighting for that doesn’t take sacrifice.”

Results for the other eight candidates were: Carolyn Vaughn, 16.6 percent; Priscilla Leal Gonzalez, 5.24 percent; Eric Rodriguez, 4.1 percent; Pancho Villa, 3.1 percent; Joe Michael Perez, 2.7 percent; John Medina, 2.6 percent; and Robert Seidner, 0.27 percent.

The top three vote-getters out of 13 vying for an at-large position on the council were: Michael Hunter, 20.34 percent; Mike Pusley, 20.33 percent; and former judge John Martinez, 13.39 percent. Hunter was re-elected to his position. Pusley, a former Nueces County commissioner, and Martinez will be two new faces on the nine-member panel.

Rachel Ann Caballero, who topped the four-candidate race with 39 percent of the vote, will face Billy Lerma in a bid for District 1. Lerma received 25 percent of the vote. This seat was formerly held by Everett Roy, who did not run for re-election.

A runoff will also be held for the District 4 seat, currently held by Greg Smith. None of the four candidates receive over 50 percent of the vote. Both incumbent Smith and challenger Kaylynn Paxson received around 32 percent of the vote. All three city seats will be on the Dec. 15 runoff ballot.

Ben Molina will return to his position as District 2 City Council member with 51.82 percent of the vote against his only challenger, Sylvia Campos.

Roland Barrera defeated his one opponent, Herbert Rubio, with 66.59 percent of the vote.

percent of the vote.

In District 5, Gil Hernandez retained his seat with 60.3 percent of the vote.

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