The race for McAllen’s District 5 seat on the city commission will indeed head to a runoff election, the city said on Tuesday after Hidalgo County elections officials reviewed provisional ballots in the race.
Incumbent commissioner John Ingram was just one vote shy of winning the election outright on Saturday, but he will instead face banker and businessman Victor “Seby” Haddad in a runoff election set for June 22. Haddad received 41% of the vote compared to Ingram’s 50% (a candidate needs more than 50% to avoid a runoff).
The third candidate in the race, South Texas College professor Mark Murray, received 10% of the vote.
After the unofficial results on Saturday, McAllen City Secretary Perla Lara said there were four provisional ballots that needed to be reviewed by county elections officials. Upon receiving from the county those provisional ballots, which are used to record a vote when there are questions about a specific voter’s eligibility that must be resolved before a vote can count, two more votes were added to Haddad’s total, bringing his unofficial final tally from the general election to 463, the city said.
The city is expected to formally canvass the election results on Monday at the regularly scheduled commission meeting. Until then, Haddad and Ingram will begin campaigning, they’ve said. While Haddad still has plenty of money in the bank — more than $40,000 as of a week before the May 4 election — defeating an incumbent is still a tough task.
Only one incumbent in the last two decades has lost a re-election race, and Ingram is widely known throughout the central McAllen district. The only incumbent who has held office longer than Ingram is District 4 Commissioner Aida Ramirez, who did not seek re-election after 18 years on the commission.
The race to fill Ramirez’s seat was not nearly as close as the District 5 election. Attorney Tania Ramirez, who is not related to the commissioner, soundly defeated Joe Califa, a retired city planner. Tania Ramirez received 499 votes (65%) compared to Califa’s 264 votes (35%).