Candidates selected for SPI election


Alita Bagley.

Brandy Buntin.

Lydia Cabellero.

Patrick McNulty.

Thomas Bainter.






By Gaige Davila 

Both incumbents are running for reelection in South Padre Island’s mayor and council elections later this year.

Patrick McNulty, who won a runoff election against Darla Jones in 2019, is running for mayor again. Alita Bagley, current council member for Place 4, has also filed for reelection. 

McNulty has one challenger, Brandy Buntin, who ran for the city’s Place 2 council member seat in 2018 against incumbent Kerry Schwartz then again in 2019 against Ken Medders for the council member Place 1 seat. Buntin lost both elections to the current incumbents. 

Bagley has two challengers: Thomas Bainter, the president and treasurer of the non-profit Costa Cleanups who ran for the city’s Place 5 council seat in 2018 against incumbent Eva Jean-Dalton; and Lydia Caballero, who was on the city’s Parks & Keep SPI Beautiful committee. 

On Facebook, McNulty said some of his goals if re-elected included renovating Laguna Boulevard; developing a public boat ramp; completing a Wind and Water Sports Park north of the Convention Center; completing the Tompkins Park Skate Park; continue plans for a second Causeway; and completing the city’s comprehensive plan. 

In a statement sent to the PRESS, Buntin said communication and including more people in the Island’s political process are focal points of his campaign. 

This ability to communicate and lead by listening to all is something that is desperately lacking in our island’s politics,” Buntin said. “We’re just a small little beach community with only a few thousand residents yet we simply can’t seem to get along with each other.”

For the Place 4 seat, Bainter also mentioned a focus on developing a second Causeway.

“No real platform, no donations accepted and common sense decisions with a balance of growth and protections for residents at the forefront,” Bainter said in a statement to the PRESS. “Want to figure out how to work better with the county and get the second causeway fast tracked. No dirty politics and no trash talking.”

Caballero, a retired nurse, told the PRESS her interest in running for the Pace 4 seat comes from the Island being her “forever home,” after living there for the past 5 years. Caballero said her campaign would focus on promoting the Island for year round tourism, utilizing the city’s parks and beaches equally, creating awareness of the Island being a Certified Retirement Community by the state; and social media training programs for small businesses; and “stronger ties” to governmental agencies like the Cameron County and other agencies.  Regarding taxes, Caballero said she wants to see “more coming and less going out,” referring to property and the hotel occupancy tax, colloquially known as the HOT tax. 

The PRESS has contacted Bagley and is awaiting comment. 

If elected, the candidates will serve a three year term, as do all South Padre Island council members. 

Early voting for the South Padre Island’s election is between Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, through Friday, Oct. 30, 2020, excluding weekends. Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the exception of Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, and Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, where the hours will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.  All early voting and election day voting will be at South Padre Island City Hall, at 4601 Padre Blvd. Election Day is on Nov. 3. 

The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 5, 2020, for the November election. For more information on how to register to vote, please call (956) 544-0809 or visit the Cameron County Elections Department at

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