POSTED: Sunday, May 15, 2011 - 6:45pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, May 17, 2011 - 10:04am
SOCORRO - There are historical implications coming out of election night. Voters recalled an elected official in El Paso county for the first time in recent memory.
People in Socorro were not shocked or surprised that Mayor Willie Gandara Sr. was voted out of office. Some say Gandara cast a of shadow of controversy over the town after he was indicted in a federal corruption probe. That's why last night a majority of voters took a stand.
"The people made the choice and of course we need to move forward to get a new mayor," Jesus Hernandez said.
Hernandez is a candidate for Socorro Alderman 1. At this point, his opponent Maria Reyes is leading, but that race is still too close to call.
Hernandez says he also wanted Gandara out of office, but he says he's not happy with how it went down.
"I feel sad because we had this recall that should never have happened. Of course people make mistakes, but eventually it had to come down to this," he said.
Gandara and his supporters have maintained his innocence, and from the start he refused to resign as mayor. That created a bad relationship among Gandara and some council members, and it led to a lot of media attention
"Well in my opinion he was the one that was bringing the circus to the city. He would bring the media and they would get all worked up and everything," Gloria Rodriguez said.
So did people in Socorro lose confidence in their indicted mayor, or were they just ready for the circus to end? That's questions up for debate, but one things is for sure. Socorro's new leadership, and those hoping to be a part of it, have a lot of work to do.
"Hopefully we get the trust back from the people," Hernandez said.
We have tried contacting Willy Gandara Sr. for comment, but so far have not heard back from him.
Jesse Gandara, Gandara's nephew, will now be the interim mayor of Socorro.
Former Socorro Mayor Trini Lopez has already said he plans to run for the office again in November. Lopez was beat out by Gandara in the last election.