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Unlike the City of Edinburg, Alamo’s runoff election that ends this Saturday, Dec. 7th , presumably won’t form a new commission majority since the mayor and her two commission political allies, Robert De La Garza and Oscar “Okie” Salinas, are already seated in three of the five commission seats. The lone seat still open, Place 4, will be decided in the runoff. Pitted against each other: incumbent city commissioner and Mayor Martinez ally, Maria Del Pilar Garza, and political newcomer Michael Benedetti, who enjoys the support of former Place 1 city commissioner “Trino” Medina who lost to Martinez in the bitterly fought mayoral race. Place 2 incumbent and Medina supporter “Pete” Morales won his seat against his challenger, Joseph Sweet. This race would have been a nail biter if Medina’s former political ally and Place 3 city commission incumbent Robert De La Garza hadn’t jumped ship earlier this year and joined the mayor when things went sideways over former Alamo Police Chief Baudelio Castillo, who still has a lawsuit against the city for wrongful termination. If that switch hadn’t happened, the count would be 2-2, with the runoff vote deciding the majority. Of course, this is Alamo, where hard-ball politics has been played for decades. Much like San Juan, Edinburg, and Pharr (at least in the “old days”), commission majorities are known to change in a week’s notice. So no matter the outcome of next Tuesday’s election, check with us next summer, and we’ll see if the mayor’s commission majority holds. The Place 4 seat is still undecided because three candidates ran on the Nov. 5th ballot, and neither one of the three captured the requisite 50 percent plus 1 vote. Incumbent Commissioner Del Pilar Garza won approximately 45 percent of the vote vs. approximately 29 percent for Benedetti, and approximately 25 percent for another newcomer to city politics, “LJ” Gioeni, who, by the way, has now thrown her support behind Del Pilar Garza. The Advance News Journal caught up with the two candidates in the runoff – Benedetti and Del Pilar Garza – to get an answer to several questions: what makes you the better candidate? We’ll do it in a Q&A format. First up, Maria Del Pilar Garza, followed by Michael Benedetti. Del Pilar Garza has spent her professional career in the field of education and was first elected to the Alamo City Commission in 2011; Benedetti is a small-business owner and a newcomer to ...

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