McALLEN — Commissioner Victor “Seby” Haddad on Monday entered elected office for the first time, following an arduous campaign that ended with incumbent John Ingram losing his central McAllen seat after more than a decade in office.
Haddad, a 38-year-old banker and businessman who out-fundraised Ingram several times over, ran on a pro-business platform, also focusing on public safety, drainage and traffic. Sworn into office at City Hall by U.S. District Judge Ricardo Hinojosa, Haddad thanked his family, supporters and political opponents.
“I also want to thank John Ingram for his long service to District 5,” Haddad, a McAllen native, said before Monday’s city commission meeting began, noting Ingram’s wide recognition across the central McAllen district. “He did set a bar that the District 5 people have expected, and I believe we will definitely rise to the challenge and meet that expectation.”
Haddad’s election victory came after he and a third candidate, South Texas College professor Mark Murray, forced a runoff election after none of them received 50% of the vote in May’s General Election.
A candidate needs more than 50% of the vote to win an election outright, and Ingram barely missed it.
Haddad ultimately won the runoff election with 54% (719 votes) compared to Ingram’s 46% (622 votes).
With Haddad on board, the city commission has now moved significantly younger, with two commissioners — Haddad and recently-elected Commissioner Tania Ramirez — both under 40 years old. What’s more is Haddad’s entrance marks five new city commissioners in the last two years, something that city staff and commissioners have mostly viewed with cautious optimism.
Commissioner Joaquin “J.J.” Zamora in an interview last week said the new group, himself included, might make some mistakes, but that he’s optimistic about the future. Commissioner Omar Quintanilla, who, like Zamora, was elected in May 2017, agreed.
“Now, five in the last two years can present a challenge,” Quintanilla said. “But we do have the benefit of the mayor with his many, many years of experience to kind of give us the pros and cons and the history for those of us who are relatively new.”
For Ingram’s part, after his runoff election defeat, he thanked his supporters, commended Haddad on a job well done and said he didn’t plan on reaching out to Haddad.
On Monday at city hall, after Haddad’s swearing in, the city conducted the proclamations portion of the city commission meeting where the city formally recognizes people, organizations and sports teams.
But Darling skipped over the first proclamation. It was meant to commemorate Monday as “Commissioner John J. Ingram Day,” but Ingram was not in attendance.