By Sylvia Gonzalez
BIG SPRING - The people of Big Spring voted for a new city leader over the weekend, but the election in Big Spring is not over just yet. Voting for the District 5 City Council seat ended in a runoff. With the position still up for grabs, the top two candidates are getting their campaigns back in gear.
When the early numbers were released, Raul Benavides was up with 45 percent of the vote while J.D. Smith had 37 percent. When all was said and done both candidates failed to reach 50 percent of the vote and officials announced there would be a runoff. The candidates were not surprised at the outcome.
"We expected it to be very, very close. It's just part of the process that you go through. I wanted it to be over but it's not, so we'll do a runoff on June eighth," Benavides said.
"After talking with the other candidates over this campaign, we all had a good feeling there was going to be a runoff. We just had no idea who was going to be in it. We could see all the scenarios," Smith said.
Raul Benavides says for the last two months, he walked down many streets met many people and knocked on many doors. A strategy that he plans to continue to use for the runoff.
"Just be vocal, just be very visible out in district 5," Benavides said.
Unlike Benavides, J. D. Smith plans to revamp his campaign. He plans to put in more hours in order to get more one on one with the community, hoping that will win him the district 5 spot on the city council.
"I think I also need to be a little bit more clear on my plans and hopefully I'm gonna try and go to the radio station to get out some of my ideas," Smith said.
Both men know what they would work on if elected to city council.
"Fixing the infrastructure, fixing the roads that we have, city personnel we are short staffed quite a bit. Our sanitation department is being pirated, if you will, by the oil companies just to work on those critical needs right now," Benavides said.
"Try to spur housing needs, do a tax abatement, do a really aggressive 90 percent abatement for three years and work with all the other taxing entities. I would like to be really involved in that with all those groups," Smith said.
Benavides and Smith are asking voters for their support, hoping they will come out to do it all again.
"Beg and plead I guess. It's all we can do, just ask them to come out and do their civic duty, one more time," Benavides said.
"All the voters that did vote for me, I would ask that they go back out to the polls. We are really going to need them to go back to the polls again," Smith said.