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Nafziger, Salgado, and Webb win city seats as voter turnout booms, Walstrom elected to Marfa school board

May 11th, 2017 under Top Stories
Ann Marie Nafziger

Ann Marie Nafziger

By JOHN DANIEL GARCIA

johndaniel@bigbendnow.com

MARFA – The face of Marfa politics has shifted dramatically as a large wave of voters elected Ann Marie Nafziger as mayor and Britt Webb and Irma Salgado to the city council seats, forcing out 8-year city council veteran Josie Simpson during last Saturday’s elections.

Residents also elected David Walstrom to the Marfa ISD School Board member.

Nafziger swept the mayoral election with 336 of the 536 votes casted for candidates of the position. Current city council member and former Marfa mayor Genevieve Bassham fell behind Nafziger, garnering 115 votes, just three votes ahead of candidate Lineaus Hooper Lorette.

In the city council elections, Salgado and Webb earned their seats with 275 and 232 votes, respectively, out of a staggering 992 votes cast.

Rounding out the candidates, Saarin Keck received 144 votes, incumbent Josie Simpson earned 133 votes, former city council member Raul Lara earned 131 votes, and Meghan Gerety received 77 votes.

This year’s vote totals outpaced the 2015 elections – which was the last election held for the mayors seat – with a total of 170 votes cast for mayor and 404 ballots cast for the three candidates for city council that year.

In the school board race, 506 ballots were also cast, which saw the election of retired educator David Walstrom, whose 203 votes defeated appointed incumbent Eric Wilmarth. A third candidate, Joe Pat Clayton, also came out ahead of the incumebent with 179 votes to Wilmarth’s 124.

“Frankly, I’m not surprised by the large voter turnout. It reflects the increased interest we’ve seen in local government since the presidential election and it trends with the rest of the United States in that way,” Nafziger said of the turnout. “I would earnestly ask that folks continue to be involved. In order to continue to grow and thrive, this community needs people from all walks of life to be civically educated and actively engaged. I hope the extraordinary turnout was only the beginning. I believe there is much we can do if we work together.

Outgoing mayor Dan Dunlap, however, was taken by surprise by the turnout.

“I’m amazed. I’m impressed,” he said, stating he has never seen such a high turnout for Marfa elections. “There was a lot of energy in this election. That’s democracy at it’s best.”

Nafziger, Salgado, and Webb are due to be sworn in on Thursday, May 18.

“Obviously, I’m thrilled with the outcome of the election. I feel incredibly honored to have the support of so many different folks from across our beloved town,” said Nafziger in anticipation of her time in office. “I campaigned on the simple ideal that we, in our diversity, hold shared goals and values that are worth working toward. I’m pleased that the citizens of Marfa agree. It was a clear vote for progressive leadership and I look forward to providing that for our community.”

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