AP NEWS

Martinez era ends: Mendez bound for runoff with Cabler

May 5, 2019

Tony Martinez’s tenure as mayor of Brownsville is coming to an end, according to last night’s election results, which has front runner Trey Mendez bound for a runoff campaign against second-place challenger Charlie Cabler.

With all precincts reporting, Mendez garnered 4,328 votes compared to 3,396 for Cabler and 2,893 for Martinez, unofficial returns revealed. The candidates’ share of the vote was 40.76 percent for Mendez, 31.99 percent for Cabler and 27.25 percent for Martinez.

Mendez, an attorney, business owner and Texas Southmost College trustee, would have needed 50 percent plus one vote to avoid a runoff with Cabler, a former Brownsville city manager with 40 years of public service in Brownsville.

Martinez, an attorney and business owner, was elected mayor in 2011 and re-elected in 2015. He admitted being disappointed by the election results, but considers it a sign that it’s time to focus on other things. Martinez said he’s not through creating opportunities for young people and helping move Brownsville forward.

“If it’s time for someone else to take the baton, I will do everything in my power to help them succeed,” he said.

Mendez said he thinks voters sent a clear message this election.

“I think it’s clear that Brownsville wanted to move in a different direction,” he said. “I think the change we are offering is positive change.”

Mendez said he plans to work just as hard in the runoff to get out the vote and will take nothing for granted in the battle to best Cabler.

“If I’m elected we’re going to do some good things in Brownsville,” Mendez said.

Cabler attributed his election showing to voters’ appreciation of his decades as a public servant, and to running an effective campaign.

“Our strength was we talked to people, we walked the streets and tried to sell our platform — that the city is in need of a full-time mayor and we need to start being visible, engage with our organizations and committees, and do a better job of getting infrastructure and jobs to our city,” he said. “I think we did well. We’ve always tried to run a positive campaign and just sell our platform.”

Cabler said his team will get back to work and be ready for the runoff campaign.

“We feel that we can prepare ourselves, and we have a positive attitude,” he said. “We’ll move forward.”

Martinez, meanwhile, said he feels good about his administration’s accomplishments over the last eight years.

“They were wonderful years,” he said. “We did a whole lot. We were able to, I think more than anything, empower the city to understand how wonderful things can happen if we all put our heads together and our hearts together. Hopefully from here on it’s that we build on that empowerment.”

sclark@brownsvilleherald.com