By PAMELA CODY
Special to the PRESS
Despite vigorous challenges from their opponents, Ken Medders, Jr. and Kerry Schwartz prevailed in the Tuesday, November 5, city council election, keeping their positions on the South Padre Island City Council for another term.
The City of SPI released the unofficial tally Tuesday night, around 7:45 p.m. In the Place 1 race, Ken Medders, Jr. received 527 votes, while Brandy Buntin had 295 votes. In the Place 2 race, incumbent Kerry Schwartz won over challenger Beverly Skloss, with a final count of 529 to 286 votes.
Supporters of Medders and Schwartz gathered at SPI watering hole Laguna Bob’s for a joint post-election celebration Tuesday evening. Friends, family members and fellow council members came out to cheer for the winning candidates and toast their victory. It was a contentious an hotly contested race for the 2 open positions, replete with anonymous letters sent out to local citizens accusing one of the candidates of unfounded charges of sexual misconduct, as well as alleged interference from local independent political groups. One candidate’s wife received a threatening letter, warning that damaging personal information about her candidate husband would be released unless he dropped out of the race. Buntin’s and Skloss’ campaign signs were damaged before the election, sparking rumors of political mischief, but the vandalism, ultimately, turned out to have been caused by hapless tourists in a golf cart, rather than political disruptors.
Schwartz offered a post-election statement regarding the outcome, saying “I would like to express heartfelt thanks to our Island residents in re-electing me to city council. I am honored and humbled that you have placed your trust in me. With this trust, I will work tirelessly on your behalf to help address challenges, and secure lasting and meaningful improvements to our quality of life.”
Schwartz went on to thank all the volunteers who assisted with his campaign, and to his opponent for participating in the democratic process, saying “Our island is better for it.”
Also thanking the citizens of SPI, Ken Medders, Jr. said in his statement “Thank you to all the citizens of SPI who exercised their God-given right to vote yesterday. The election was won through a team effort of many people who came together for one thing… our home! Our Island is a beautiful place filled with many people from all different backgrounds. Our diversity of people and ideas makes our home a wonderful place to live. Now is the time for us to come together as one community. We are stronger together.”
Medders finished his statement by saying “I will continue to listen to you, the residents and businesses, and work to build a quality life, Island style!”
Medders’ opponent, Brandy Buntin, was upbeat and gracious the morning after the election, congratulating the winners and asserting he had a great experience running for office. Buntin said he looks forward to throwing his hat in the ring in future elections, both for city council and even possibly the next mayoral election.
Buntin posted the following statement after the election results, saying “I would like to thank first and foremost God for allowing me to run in this campaign, and all the people of our great little Island community that voted for me in this election. And to everyone that helped me out, I am truly humbled and grateful for you sticking by me. I am not done and will continue on. Thanks again for all the support and encouragement, my family and I love SPI.”
Via text message to the PRESS, Schwartz’s opponent, Beverly Skloss, offered a brief comment on the election outcome, saying “I appreciate all my supporters. Running for city council was an eye opener. I wish the incumbents the best.”