McALLEN — Attorney Tania Ramirez, the candidate for McAllen’s District 4 City Commission seat who’s caught up in voter fraud allegations, was the only candidate not to submit a 30-day campaign finance report that was due by 5 p.m. Thursday, one month out from the May 4 election.
In the only other contested race on the ballot, District 5, Victor “Seby” Haddad, a banker and business owner, raised $59,000, by far the most a candidate has raised during this campaign. Incumbent commissioner John Ingram has largely self-financed his campaign, spending roughly $6,000 of his own money out of the $9,000 he spent so far, according to campaign finance reports.
The third District 5 candidate, Mark Murray, a South Texas College professor, raised just $200, but also self-financed, totaling about $2,000 in expenditures.
“We’re not spending a whole lot because, honestly, I’m not going to go in debt for a position that pays zero,” Murray said Tuesday, adding that he believes he can make it into a runoff election if no candidate earns more than 50% of the vote.
Haddad, who has so far spent $19,000 and has nearly $50,000 still in the bank to spend, acknowledged Ingram will be tough to overcome, but the amount of money Haddad has raised has allowed him to focus more on getting in front of voters instead of spending that time fundraising, he said.
“I’m humbled by the amounts and the support we’ve received,” Haddad said, noting that his fundraising numbers somewhat exceeded his projections. He added: “It comes from a wide number of individuals, in different industries, because they trust the decision-making I’ve shown in my career as a banker.”
Haddad, like Ingram, also contributed to his own campaign, including Haddad spending $9,000 of his personal funds, according to campaign finance reports.
Ingram said he doesn’t anticipate fundraising too much more. In addition to spending $6,000 of his own funds, he received $3,000 in donations, including $500 from District 5 Commissioner Aida Ramirez, who is retiring after 18 years on the commission. The race to fill her seat has been a battle between Ramirez and Joe Califa, a former city planner.
While Tania Ramirez, who did not return messages for this story, did not file a campaign finance report, Califa did and he raised nearly $13,000, in addition to donating himself some of his own money, as all of the candidates in the race have done.
Califa was pleased with his numbers, which included a donation from former McAllen Mayor Leo Montalvo.
“I kind of wished I could’ve raised more because I understand she’s funded pretty well from her daddy,” Califa said.