Pena wins recount by 8 votes

Brownsville Independent School District (BISD) Board President incumbent for board of trustee place 6 Minerva M. Peña waves to motorist on election day Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, along Alton Gloor Boulevard in Brownsville, Texas. (Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald via AP)

Longtime Brownsville Independent School District trustee Minerva M. Peña won her race for the Position 6 seat on the BISD Board of Trustees after all, beating out challenger Marisa F. Leal by eight votes after a recount that concluded over the weekend.

Peña, who was seeking a fourth term on the board, filed for a recount after the final tally in the Nov. 3 election showed Leal had won by one vote, 16,535 votes to 16,534 for Peña.

The recount came out 16,552 for Peña and 16,544 for Leal, with the third candidate in the race Joe A. Rodriguez receiving 10,575 votes.

The recount committee staffed by representatives of both Peña and Leal, announced the results shortly after 9 a.m. Sunday, Peña said.

BISD Superintendent Rene Gutierrez said the votes will now have to be re-canvassed and Peña sworn in. The Board of Trustees is already scheduled to meet Dec. 9, at which time the new vote totals will be canvassed, he said.

“Every vote counts. This shows it is extremely important to exercise your right to vote, ” Gutierrez said, adding that BISD will now follow the process.

“People were very supportive. I praise God that I came out victorious, ” Peña said. She added that she had prayed over whether to ask for a recount and decided to do so after many people urged her to take that step.

Peña said going through the recount was a very humbling experience. She added that people would come up to her in the grocery store and other places saying they were praying for her to be successful.

At the time the recount began last week, Leal said that having run a clean race she was satisfied with the original result but hoped her margin would improve.