2019 Elections Results: Sweetwater Voters Elect New Faces to City Commission

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sophia lacayo 2019 sweetwater elections with campaign workers
Sophia Lacayo with campaign supporters at Mas Canosa Youth Center hours before being elected commissioner in the City of Sweetwater. Photo: J. Mayorga

Sweetwater, FL – After months of fierce political campaigning in Sweetwater, and one final sun-drenched day of endless political campaigning, voters in the City of Sweetwater today decided to elect three newcomers to the commission: Saul Diaz, Isidro Ruiz, and Sophia Lacayo.

Isidro Ruiz outside of the Mas Canosa Youth Center polling station in Sweetwater, FL hours before polls closed

Saul Diaz, a longtime political activist and small business owner in Sweetwater, found that the third time’s a charm, as this was his third attempt to compete for a seat as a Sweetwater commissioner. This was Isidro Ruiz’s second attempt at politics in Sweetwater after being defeated in 2017 by David Borrero, and for Sophia Lacayo, this was a historic first attempt to enter politics, and a likely beginning of the end to the reign of older politicians serving for decades.

The Mayoral race between Orlando Lopez, Idania Llanio, and Jose M. Diaz has resulted in a run-off election on May 28, due to the fact that Orlando Lopez did not capture at least 50% of the total votes.

2019 Election Marks Historic Milestones in Sweetwater

The 2019 election was perhaps the most historic and symbolic in the history of the City of Sweetwater:

  • Sophia Lacayo made history as the first Nicaraguan-American to be elected to politics in Sweetwater, a feat many other Nicaraguan-Americans have tried and failed at
  • Manuel Duasso was defeated for the first time in a Sweetwater election since being elected in 1995
  • Prisca Barreto was defeated for the first time in a Sweetwater election since more than 5 consecutive terms
  • Once the 3 new commissioners are sworn in, 6 of the 7 active commissioners will be rookies serving during their first term ever
  • For the first time in the history of Sweetwater, there will be a run-off election for a Mayoral seat

Saul Diaz Talks to Sweetwater Post About Lessons Learned in This Election

saul diaz sweetwater 2019 elections
Hours before being elected as Commissioner, Saul Diaz campaigns outside of the polling station at Mas Canosa Youth Center in Sweetwater, FL.

After two painful political defeats, the soon-to-be-elected commissioner Saul Diaz spoke to Sweetwater Post hours before the polls closed about lessons learned in this election. Diaz beat a longtime commissioner Prisca Barreto after losing to Manuel Duasso in 2015 (defeated this year by Sophia Lacayo) and losing to Joniel Diaz in 2017 (son of this year’s candidate for Mayor and former commissioner Jose M. Diaz).

What did Saul Diaz learn this year versus other campaigns?

“Walking more, talking to the people. We really need some change in the city. I wasn’t gonna run, to be honest… I’m running (for commissioner) because someone has been sitting on that seat for 28 years. I can’t get in my mind that someone would be in one position for so many years…”

Diaz was referring to Prisca Barreto, a commissioner with almost three decades of being on the commission.

“A lot of people want change. That’s the keyword. Change. That’s what we need, new blood, new ideas.”

Diaz is expected to be sworn in at a special ceremony on Monday, May 20th in Sweetwater City Hall.

Nicaraguan Community in Sweetwater Rejoices for Lacayo Win

Sophia Lacayo greeted by a supporter hours before being elected Sweetwater Commissioner

Today, the Nicaraguan community in Sweetwater is celebrating the victory of the first-ever Nicaraguan-American elected to the city commission.

Sophia Lacayo, a political rookie in Sweetwater, politically annihilated Isolina Maroño and Manuel Duasso, two well-known political leaders in Sweetwater running against her, one with a last name synonymous with politics in Sweetwater, and the other one with decades of extensive ties to the community, a strong base of supporters and voters, and decades of consecutive terms on the commission dais.

Lacayo’s campaign enjoyed an unprecedented mass of supporters and new energy in Sweetwater, complete with caravans of trucks blaring a professionally-produced campaign theme song, countless signs large and small, each prominently placed in every corner of Sweetwater featuring her carefully-touched-up portrait, and a hype that some might compare to A-list celebrities. The number of campaign workers, volunteers, and supporters sporting a Sophia Lacayo campaign shirt exceeded 100 people by some estimates.

By the Numbers: 2019 Municipal Elections Results

Sweetwater Mayor

Total votes: 2,803

Orlando Lopez – 46.59% – 1,306 votes
Jose M. Diaz – 29.36% – 823 votes
Idania Llanio – 24.05% – 674 votes

Sweetwater Commissioner – Group 5

Total Votes: 2,603

Jose Marti – 39.38% – 1,025 votes
Isidro Ruiz – 60.62% – 1,578 votes

Sweetwater Commissioner – Group 6

Total Votes: 2,565

Prisca Barreto – 38.64% – 991 votes
Saul Diaz – 61.36% – 1,574 votes

Sweetwater Commissioner – Group 7

Total Votes: 2,695

Manuel Duasso – 18.03% – 486 votes
Sophia G. Lacayo – 51.17% – 1,379 votes
Isolina Maroño – 30.80% – 830 votes

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