Ingram asks for recount in McAllen District 5 election

John Ingram and Victor "Seby" Haddad (The Monitor)

After just missing an outright victory in Saturday’s general election that’s now headed for a runoff, central McAllen’s city commissioner John Ingram has filed for a recount of the results.

Ingram on Wednesday paid the $100 fee for a recount, he said, and multiple voters have contacted him and said they cast provisional ballots that ended up not counting due to the determination of Hidalgo County elections officials.

Ingram received 50% of the vote compared to banker and businessman Victor “Seby” Haddad’s 40%, and the third candidate, Mark Murray, received 10%. A candidate needs to receive more than 50% of the vote in order to win an election outright, otherwise it goes to a runoff election.

City Attorney Kevin Pagan remarked that this was an unusually close race, but a recount should not take long, because it is the provisional and mail-in ballots that are in question, Ingram said, not the hundreds of electronically submitted in-person ballots. This issue will likely be on Monday’s agenda at the regularly scheduled city commission meeting, where a canvassing of the votes is also expected.

The last recount in a McAllen election was in 1997, after the incumbent Mayor Othal Brand lost to challenger Leo Montalvo, an election that was separated by a couple hundred votes, Pagan said.

“ I think it changed the vote total by maybe eight or nine votes, which in this situation would be a big deal, but in that instance, the margin was much wider,” Pagan said. But the issues in question at that time were different.

The digital advancements used in modern elections were not there yet in the late 1990s, he added.

“And there were a significantly higher number of mail in ballots,” Pagan said.

Montalvo went on to be mayor without much of an issue after the recount.