McAllen – The race for mayor is reaching a fever pitch, and neither side is showing signs of relaxing as each candidate trades last minute barbs in hopes of convincing undecided voters to swing their way. Local races, including the mayoral race are heading into day 4 of early voting.
Earlier this week, an anti-Othal Brand Facebook page emerged attempting to high light the candidates employment of known politiqueras. According to Brand’s campaign finance report, the Brand campaign out spent the Darling campaign by 2-1 margins, and of these expenditures included the purchase of assistants. The Darling campaign also procured the services of campaign assistants.
The Facebook page titled “McAllen Against Othal Brand Jr” currently sits at 17 followers and is eerily similar to a Facebook page created to attack high profile opponents of Proposition 1 (Healthcare District) last fall.
On Wednesday morning, Jim Darling issued through his campaign website, an attempt to neutralize what is seen as Othal Brand Jr’s main selling point – transparency. Darling focuses on Brand’s tenure as head of Water District 3, placing emphasis on findings and recommendations from a 2012 Audit Report. Darling, meanwhile; has inspired new legislation, penned by Representative Terry Canales, that seeks to open up to the public the purchases made by local governments. This legislation stems from the City of McAllen withholding, and defiant actions in keeping the payment made to Enrique Iglesias during 2015’s Christmas Parade private.
Much of the tension has made it’s way over to the polls. Today, supporters of Othal Brand Jr were allegedly harassed by what are presumed to be supporters of Jim Darling. According to Adrienne Pena-Garza, a supporter of Othal Brand Jr, those working and supporting Mr. Brand were met with shouts of “KKK” from those “hired” to assist opposing candidates.
The Brand campaign posted a picture today that showed Doctor Hospital at Renaissance (DHR) shuttles arriving to the polling place and assisting sick and elderly voters to the polls. Jim Darling served as General Counsel for DHR for over a decade before retiring in 2016. DHR has been accused by local watchdog groups of having vested interest in election outcomes, particularly with candidates that would provide favorable economic environment for DHR. It is believe that Darling’s close association with DHR as already bared fruit in the past.
With the election coming down to the wire, it’s hard to gauge which side has the momentum at the polls. Darling’s camp believe that he has build up enough good will the past 4 years for voters to give him an other shot at mayor. Meanwhile, the Brand campaign is hoping there is enough residual anger from Darling’s handling of the Enrique Iglesias debacle, and his support for a healthcare district, despite saying he didn’t.
A non-scientific method as to gauge which side has the momentum going forward is to view the comparisons between google search between the two candidate. This observation proved to successfully predict the general election outcomes of the 2012, and 2016 Presidential Elections.
The terms “Vote Othal Brand Jr” and “Vote Jim Darling” produced little results, so the terms “Othal Brand” and “Jim Darling” were used, which may still give an indication were search interest is leaning.
At first glance, it appears both sides have a similar average of searches, however the meta data produces a slightly more favorable number for Mr. Brand, with a trend upward at the end.
For regional metro data, Mr. Brand has a higher search interest. However, it is quite possible that search for Mr. Brand may exclude the “Jr” in his name. Identifying Mr. Brand simply as Othal Brand produces significant results.
With these parameters, Mr. Brand clearly has search interest edge over Jim Darling. Going deeper into regional metro data by city and you get the following result.
The meta-data of McAllen searches gives Othal Brand Jr a 100 to 48 edge against Jim Darling. Although the above graphics may provide some comfort and assurance to Brand supporters, ultimately the only numbers that matter to both candidates are the numbers that roll in on May 6.