By VERONICA GORDON
The real winners in Buda’s special mayoral election Saturday night are the citizens, according to Council Member Ron Fletcher. Fletcher lost the election to fellow Council Member Todd Ruge by 33 votes.
“We knew as soon as the polls closed that (the city of) Buda was going to be the winner,” Fletcher said.
The final totals were 159-126 in favor of Ruge.
“There were two good candidates and all day long, both of us said to everybody who came to vote that there’s no bad choice on the ballot today and a good man is going to win,” Fletcher added. “It just happened to be that good man and not me.”
The special election was called because former Mayor Sarah Mangham resigned for health reasons in October. The earliest an election could be held was Dec. 8.
Ruge attributed his victory to having a strong campaign.
“I knocked on a lot of doors,” he said. “I’ve worked several campaigns, and I really had a good network of people that came out and supported me and who helped me throughout this.”
Ruge and Fletcher spent most of the day at City Hall awaiting the results. After the totals were announced, they shook hands and Fletcher congratulated Ruge.
“It was a good, clean race,” Fletcher said. “It was a race that the citizens deserve.”
Ruge said he and Fletcher will continue working together on the council.
“We were friends before this and we’ll be friends after this,” Ruge said. “Today was great. Ron and I talked all day … and we got to know more about each other. It was a great experience.”
Fletcher said he will fully support Ruge as mayor.
“We were friends before, we were friends all day long – and we’re going to be friends at the next meeting,” Fletcher said.
Another special election will be called to fill Ruge’s seat on the council.
“Last I checked, the county doesn’t do those for free,” Fletcher said.
The cost for Saturday’s election was estimated to be between $4,000 to $5,000, he said.