Alton, Peñitas and Sullivan City prepare to cancel elections after candidates run unopposed

Alton, Peñitas and Sullivan City will cancel their May elections after every candidate ran unopposed.

Nobody challenged incumbents in Alton and Peñitas. Sullivan City Mayor Leonel “Leo” Garcia and City Councilwoman Sylvia Castillo didn’t run for re-election, allowing two political newcomers to replace them.

“I believe in God and I don’t believe in coincidences,” said Sullivan City mayoral candidate Alma D. Salinas, who didn’t draw an opponent. “So I know me choosing to do this — it was the right time for me.”

Alma Salinas, the director of Library Services and Instructional Resources at the La Joya Independent School District, is the wife of school board President Oscar “Coach” Salinas.

She ran with Sullivan City Councilman Rene “Cuate” Peña and Ramon Moreno, a teacher at Dr. Javier Saenz Middle School.

Without an opponent, Alma Salinas said she would start preparing an agenda for her first 100 days in office.

“I’m happy,” Alma Salinas said. “Very happy.”

Castillo said she decided not to run for re-election to focus on her businesses.

“I loved the time that I was commissioner there for my city of Sullivan City. I really enjoyed it,” Castillo said. “But I have to think about my family and our businesses. That’s my main concern right now.”

Garcia, who became mayor of Sullivan City in 2017, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

Alton and Peñitas will also cancel their elections.

In Alton, nobody challenged City Councilman Ricardo Garza, City Councilman Richard Arevalo or City Councilman Emilio Cantu Jr.

Alton City Commission elections are rarely contested. The city also canceled elections in 2013, 2017 and 2019.

Incumbents in Peñitas found themselves in a similar situation.

City Councilman Alex Guajardo and City Councilman Felipe Quintanilla ran unopposed for re-election.

Peñitas also canceled the 2017 election after the only candidate who challenged the incumbents withdrew from the ballot.

Cities may only cancel elections if every seat on the ballot is uncontested.

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