Raul Benavides was sworn into office Tuesday night during the meeting of the Big Spring City Council, as the new District 5 representative replaced one-term councilman Craig Olson, who did not seek re-election.
Benavides was sworn into office by City Finance Director Peggy Walker, following the canvass of the June 8 runoff election. The canvass was approved by the council on a unanimous vote.
Benavides and challenger J.D. Smith first met in the May 11 election — joined by fellow political hopeful Clint Collins — with Benavides taking top honors with 44.21 percent (187 ballots) of the vote, while opponents Smith won 33.81 percent (143 ballots) and Clint Collins took 21.99 percent (93 ballots).
However, because Benavides was unable to garner 50 percent or more of the vote, a runoff election for the seat was called.
Benavides came out ahead Saturday, taking 63 percent (193 ballots) of the vote, while Smith garnered 37 percent (111 ballots). According to Howard County election officials, there were 2,200 eligible voters in District 5, with just 14 percent weighing in on the weekend contest.
“I'd just like to thank the voters in District 5 who put up with me knocking on their doors not once, but twice,” Benavides said with a laugh. “I'm really looking forward to working with the council and the city administration in the coming months and years.”
Interim City Manager Todd Darden presented Olson with a commemorative plaque for his three years of service with the city council, an honor Darden said he requested.
“I'd like to personally thank you for all of your hard work and your efforts to make Big Spring a better place to live,” Darden said. “It has been an honor to work with you.”