A few days ago a reader told me about the enormous loss of votes in just two years by current Calexico Mayor Pro Tem Raúl Ureña. According to the results of the 2020 general elections, the young economist obtained nearly 8,700 votes in the special election to replace a council member who resigned in order to face justice. Certified results show Ureña received more than 5,600 of those votes from registered citizens who voted absentee or by mail.
On Election Day, the current Mayor Pro Tem received close to 3,000 votes more, with which he surpassed his rival by more than three to one and reached 70.65% of the votes cast for that special election. Ureña, who is a member of the most progressive wing of the Democratic Party and who has been the subject of criticism precisely because of his liberal stances, also surpassed the rest of the candidates who ran for the council in the elections to appoint three four-year members.
It is worth specifying that the eight candidates for those three posts shared the more than 13,000 votes cast by the citizens of the border city in the elections two years ago.
Data from the Imperial County Registrar of Voters indicates that of the more than 84,000 citizens registered to vote in Imperial County about 68% participated in 2020.
If I’m not mistaken, based on the Registrar of Voters date in the midterm elections turnout is expected to reach more or less 34% with around 30,000 voters.
The difference between 2020 and this 2022 is that two years ago the presidency of the United States was in dispute, in which the current President Joe Biden and then White House occupant Donald Trump, competed. The fierce campaigns launched by both the Republican and the Democrat boosted voter turnout in the Imperial Valley and around the country in a significant way that had not been seen in several years. Thanks to this, many candidates received thousands of votes, including Ureña and his almost eternal rival, Morris Reisin.
Due to the drop in electoral participation in 2022, the Mayor Pro-Tem votes dropped to 1,828 until last weekend, while the businessman had received 1,112 votes. Reisin has seen the vote for his candidacy drop to less than half from 2020, but the most significant drop was reported by Ureña to less than a quarter.
The reason for emphasizing this particular contest is because both candidates are some of the most visible who took part in both the 2020 and 2022 elections, which could give us a perspective on the differences between both elections. However, they’re not alone.
Enter Jason Jackson. Two years ago the then El Centro Council member got 3,418 votes of the 15,114 votes cast, while this year he slipped to 2,553 out of 7,553 votes cast. However in the businessman’s case, votes were split among four candidates this year, and among six the past council election. In the case of El Centro virtual Councilwoman-elect Sonia Carter votes went down to 3,052 from 4,446 in two years.
A similar case occurred to Brawley twice unsuccessful council candidate Ronald Gray III, whose votes also declined from 2,965 to 795.
Of course, a presidential election is not the same as an intermediate one, and less knowing that the Democrats were going to repeat in California with a landslide victory over their Republican rivals in 2022. If Trump manages to win over Republican registered voters once again and becomes the GOP nominee like in 2016, we will surely return to high voter turnout in 2024.
Too bad for Ureña and company who, unless they throw their hat to seek another position in two years, will not see their names on the ballot in 2024.
Adelante Valle Editor Arturo Bojórquez can be reached at [email protected] or (760) 335-4646.