2-term Mercedes commissioner not seeking re-election

Mercedes City Commissioner James Howard Wade Jr. did not submit paperwork by Friday’s deadline to run for re-election this spring.

When asked if he would seek re-election before the Feb. 15 filing deadline, Wade had “no comment,” a common response from the elected official who routinely avoids commenting to local media on city affairs. He also refused to comment on whether he will seek a seat on the Mercedes City Commission in the future.

Voters first elected Wade and Commissioner Ruben “Chano” Guajardo, who is up for re-election this year, in May 2013.

“I think that he served admirably as a city (commissioner) and took his duties and responsibilities very, very seriously, and he did an outstanding job,” Guajardo said, referring to Wade as a “solid commissioner.”

Wade’s second three-year term will end in May, when voters decide who will take the Place 2 seat.

“He was someone who brought a different perspective to the table, and it was something after discussions … we would come out with a good resolution that everybody could be happy with,” Guajardo said of Wade, who he said voted similarly on about 95 percent of decisions.

Wade was the sole commissioner who voted against the removal of former Mercedes City Manager Daniel Tijerina in September 2017.

Before his departure, Wade will be part of the commission that decides who to hire as the next city attorney, in light of longtime Mercedes City Attorney Juan Molina resigning.

Wade has not publicly indicated why he decided against seeking re-election.

Four Mercedes residents have filed to run for the seat being vacated by Wade, including Leonel Benavidez, 34, an energy consultant, Joe Martinez, 36, a case manager and chairman of the Keep Mercedes Beautiful Committee, and Michelle G. Reyna, 46, a bus driver.

Election Day is May 4.