- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
"Javier Villalobos is a proven leader who cares deeply about the people of the Rio Grande Valley. Congratulations on becoming the next Mayor of McAllen!" Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wrote on Facebook.
Villalobos, an attorney, was appointed to the Prepaid Higher Education Tuition Board by Abbott in 2018 and is the former chair of the Hidalgo County GOP.
"Amazing news! McAllen, Texas is a major border town of 140,000 people. 85% Hispanic — and just elected a Republican mayor. The macro realignment accelerates in South Texas, and elsewhere, as Hispanics rally to America First," former Trump 2020 campaign adviser Steve Cortes wrote on Twitter.
Villalobos defeated opponent Veronica Whitacre by a little more than 200 votes in a runoff election, KVEO reported. He is currently a McAllen City Commissioner.
"Let me start by thanking the voters, my team, my family [and] everyone who helped run this campaign. Thank you McAllen for trusting [and] believing in me. I promise to not let you down," Villalobos wrote on Facebook this weekend.
He received praise from conservatives across the country. Hidalgo County, home of McAllen, went to President Biden by roughly 17 points in the 2020 election.
"Holy cow... Republicans just flipped the mayorship of McAllen, Texas. This was not expected and shows Hispanics in South Texas may have shifted with the GOP even post Trump," author Ryan Girdusky wrote on Twitter.
"BIG win for Republicans tonight in a border community. Biden’s border crisis has real world ramifications for communities across the country, especially in cities like McAllen," RNC spokesman Nathan Brand said on Twitter.
Villalobos' victory comes as the Biden administration faces criticism from the right for its border policies.
U.S. Border Patrol agents rescued a group of migrants seen on video last week nearly drowning while trying to cross the Rio Grande River into Texas.
The incident unfolded Wednesday in Roma, west of McAllen, and was captured on video by Fox News’ Sara Carter.
"I’m drowning!" one of the migrants could be heard yelling as body parts are seen emerging and then disappearing from the surface of the water.
Fox News' Greg Norman contributed to this report.