Council Member John Thomaides narrowly won the San Marcos mayor’s race in Tuesday’s runoff with a 42-vote margin of victory over business owner Ruben Becerra, according to the final but unofficial count.
“It’s obviously very gratifying,” Thomaides said about his win with 50.62 percent of the vote, or 1,727 votes. “It’s been such a long, long election season, and we worked so very, very hard, really through every single day, every single weekend, really since the first of August, end of July.”
The two advanced to the runoff after no one clinched a majority of the votes Nov. 8 in the five-person race to succeed Mayor Daniel Guerrero, who decided not to seek another term.
Texas State University political science professor Ed Mihalkanin won the Place 3 City Council seat, while Planning and Zoning Commissioner Saul Gonzales prevailed in the Place 2 race. Voter turnout for the San Marcos elections was 9.69 percent.
Becerra, who lost the mayoral election with 49.38 percent of the vote, or 1,685 votes, said Wednesday that he planned to ask for a recount.
“My phone’s blowing up and has been since last night with ‘recount,’ ‘recount,’ ‘recount,’” Becerra said. “I’m not a sore loser at all. That’s not my style. But I feel like I owe it to my supporters to ask for a recount specifically because many want it.’”
Candidates wishing to initiate a recount have until 10 a.m. Dec. 27 to request it.
If Becerra asks for a recount, he would be responsible for paying a deposit of $1,900 ($100 for each precinct in which an electronic voting system was used), officials said. If the recount changes the outcome of the election, the entire deposit would be returned.
The funds would be used to pay a committee, led by the mayor and made up of at least four members, to conduct the recount.
The city would handle any recount, but longtime Hays County Elections Administrator Joyce Cowan has offered her assistance. Cowan said the person seeking the recount may request the method of recounting, which could include recounting mail-in ballots and re-reading electronic machine results, or a more extensive manual tally of the machine’s paper trail of ballots and comparison with the electronic results.
The 42-vote margin of victory holds special meaning for Thomaides, he said, because he lost by that same number of votes in his 2010 mayoral race against Guerrero.
“That is too weird for words,” Thomaides said Tuesday night, joking: “That number stuck with me for a while, so maybe I’ll play that in the lottery tomorrow.”
Thomaides attributed the win to a persistent, dedicated campaign stretching over months. Just in the last month, he said his team knocked on 1,100 doors and made about 9,000 phone calls. “I’ve worn out two pairs of shoes in this campaign,” he said.
Mihalkanin, a Texas State University professor who had served on the San Marcos City Council in the late ’90s to early 2000s, won the Place 3 seat over Realtor Jason Montgomery with 68 percent of the vote, or 2,167 votes. Montgomery finished with 32 percent of the vote, or 1,023 votes. The seat opened up when Thomaides decided to run for mayor.
“I’m very grateful to my fellow citizens for honoring me by electing me to the City Council again,” Mihalkanin said Tuesday night. “I thank everybody who participated in the general and runoff elections. This is about them. It’s not about any of us.”
Mihalkanin said his 9.5 years of prior council experience and his voting record helped him win the race.
Gonzales, the zoning commissioner, defeated former Council Member Shane Scott in the race to fill the open Place 2 seat left by Jude Prather, who didn’t seek re-election. Gonzales snagged 2,275 votes, or 68 percent of the vote over Scott’s 1,058 votes, 32 percent of the vote.
Gonzales did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.