Central McAllen voters head to polls Saturday to settle runoff

McALLEN — Voters here in the central part of town will choose between incumbent District 5 Commissioner John Ingram, who was first elected in 2005, and Victor “Seby” Haddad, a banker and businessman.

The only polling location will be at McAllen High School, which will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Already, the candidates have seen a higher early vote turnout in the runoff than in the May general election. Specifically, there were 1,007 early ballots cast in the runoff compared to 884 in the general election, of which 251 ballots were cast on Election Day in May.

Although the three candidates in the District 5 race did not secure more than 50% of the vote to score a victory, it was close.

Ingram received 50% of the vote compared to Haddad’s 40%, while a third candidate, South Texas College professor Mark Murray, earned about 10%. Ingram blamed in part his inability to win the election outright on immigration issues in the city.

After a general election recount didn’t change the result, the candidates exchanged blows online and in person, often prompted by Ingram, who has criticized Haddad’s business ventures and endorsements Haddad has received by local police and fire unions.

Ingram, though, has said he’s seen a lot of hateful speech directed at him and his family, and that this is “the lowest race I’ve been a part of.” However, Haddad has not been behind those attacks, Ingram said.

For his part, Haddad has kept a mostly positive message, with a strong emphasis on business growth, and he has received endorsements from Murray and Ric Godinez, who held the District 5 seat before Ingram.

The slight uptick in early voting during the runoff is unusual for runoff elections in McAllen, a city that historically has low voter turnout.

“I think the people of District 5 have stayed aware and stayed engaged,” Haddad said this week.