Unofficial tally: Guadalupe mayor out of office

Posted at 8:17 PM, Mar 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-09 01:25:09-05

Mayor Rebecca Jimenez was ousted as the leader of Guadalupe Tuesday night.

Jimenez’ challenger, Councilwoman Angie Perez, beat the mayor 81 percent to 18 percent, according to unofficial results.  

A recall was launched after residents learned that the mayor had taken a plea deal to avoid felony welfare fraud charges. Those felonies were dismissed after she pleaded to a misdemeanor in the middle of a trial meant to decide whether she fraudulently received food stamps, which prosecutors alleged. She pleaded guilty to possession of a forgery device and was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation, with a requirement that she pay more than $5,000 in restitution to the Department of Economic Security and investigative costs of $5,000, court records show.

Talk of a recall started shortly after that sentencing last September. Her onetime political ally, Vice Mayor Andrew Sanchez, led the recall effort and collected enough signatures to put Jimenez’ job up for a vote.

The climax of the campaign against her came during a Town Council meeting that devolved into a shouting match between a group of residents and Jimenez.  

Jimenez mentioned in a letter she sent to ABC15, that she plans to sue reporter Jon Erickson, ABC15, the state and the Director of DES. She accused Erickson of factual errors in his reporting, which he denies.

Perez, said Tuesday that the recall campaign has unified the town. One of her priorities, if elected, would be to increase the town’s communication with the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, she said.