by Mary Rupert
Christian Ramirez won the Unified Government Commission’s 3rd District on Tuesday night with 717 votes to incumbent Commissioner Ann Brandau Murguia’s 605 votes.
The 112-vote margin for Ramirez was a big change from the primary election results, where Brandau Murguia led Ramirez by 145 votes.
Ramirez attributed his win to a lot of hard work campaigning in the district, while Brandau Murguia said last-minute negative campaign fliers about her affected the outcome of the election.
Brandau Murguia, who has been a commissioner for 13 years, today offered her congratulations to Ramirez and said she would be available to answer any of his questions and assist him in the transition.
“And I hope District 3 continues to move forward,” she said. “We’ve made a lot of progress in the community, Argentine and Rosedale, substantial improvements, and I want to see that all continue.”
Ramirez: Knocking on doors made the difference
Ramirez today attributed his win to going door-to-door in the district.
“The way I was able to win, was I actually was out knocking on the doors and listening and talking to the people, and wanting to share their concerns,” Ramirez said.
Voter turnout definitely increased in the district. Four years ago, only a little over 500 people voted in the district compared to the general election Tuesday night, where 1,322 people cast votes.
Ramirez said one of the first things he will do when he takes office is to meet with all the nonprofit groups, the organizations, neighborhood associations and development associations, and create or re-create relationships to create a line of communication between them.
He said he had the same campaign style for the general election as the primary, knocking on doors each weekend.
“It was a very positive race between me and Commissioner Murguia,” Ramirez said. When he announced, he told everyone he was going to run a positive campaign, focusing on the issues, he said.
“I believe the voters are wanting a change, they’re wanting a more transparent government, a more accountable UG, and moreso, wanting a commissioner who will be out in the community to talk to the people and try to listen to their concerns,” Ramirez said. “They are wanting change for how our government operates.
“They want change, they want to make sure our government is working for them and not the other way around,” Ramirez said.
“I would like to thank all the 3rd District for believing in me and trusting in me for this position,” he said. “I’m ready to work for our community, work for the district and ready to move our community forward as one.”
Brandau Murguia: Negative flier has impact
Brandau Murguia said there was no doubt that in the last three years her family has had a lot of drama going on, with her false arrest for domestic violence involving a friend, and another news story this year regarding her ex-husband’s behavior.
“I think those things didn’t help matters, and then I think I underestimated the negative campaigning,” she said.
A last-minute flier went out about her that was “horrible,” she said. She was unable to trace the flier to an individual, she said, although it had an organization’s name on it.
“I thought they were so egregious and awful, I thought, no way anybody’s going to put any merit into this at all,” Brandau Murguia said. “I just underestimated it.”
She said she received sympathy cards and messages from people, and some said it was the worst case of hate mail they had ever seen.
“I don’t participate in negative politics nor do I respond to it,” she said. “I feel like that had an impact.”
Her campaign team wanted her to send out a negative flier about her opponent, but she said she did not want to do that. Also, she was advised to answer the flier, but she decided not to.
She said she thinks most people understand that there were things that had happened that were beyond her control, such as being a victim of domestic violence.
Brandau Murguia said she campaigned door-to-door in this election, spoke to a lot of people and put up campaign signs. “People were very supportive,” she said.
“I’ve been a commissioner for over a decade, for 13 years,” she said. “Maybe it was just that people were looking for a change. You never really know.”
The negative flier also claimed that she was backing Jorge Flores in his campaign against incumbent Commissioner Harold Johnson, but Brandau Murguia said she had not asked him to run. She added she was a friend of both Flores and Johnson, and she has never had any major disputes with Commissioner Johnson.
Commissioner Brandau Murguia also said that she did not get Angela Markley to run for the 6th District several years ago, but that once Markley was elected, they became good friends.
“Clearly my work has spoken for itself, the district looks fantastic from County Line to Strong Avenue,” she said. “There’s a lot to do, but we’re making incredible progress.”
The Argentine and Rosedale areas have experienced a lot of economic development during her term in office.
“Anyone who drove through District 3 today, vs. 13 years ago, no doubt sees that it is completely different than what it was 13 years ago, and the answer was better,” she said. “I let my work speak for itself but that doesn’t always work in politics, a lot of it is rumor and gossip, it’s a shame.”
Brandau Murguia said she is still serving the two remaining years on her Board of Regents term. She will be looking around in the future to see if there are some opportunities at some point for higher office, she added.
While some people believe she would be great at being in charge of economic development for an entire community, Brandau Murguia said she is taking a break for a while, and it will be nice to spend some time with her daughter.
“I’ve been in politics since she was born, so it will be nice to spend a lot of time with her,” she said.