By Charlotte Aguilar
With all 700-plus county vote centers counted Wednesday morning (Nov. 3), the unofficial returns show one Bellaire City Council contest and the Houston ISD District V trustee race are headed for runoffs next month, and Bellaire Mayor Andrew Friedberg has secured at least two allies on City Council.
Friedberg ran unopposed for his fourth (and final) two-year term and made his first-ever endorsements ever last week, touting three candidates whom he had helped appoint to city board and commission posts. While claiming the “conduct of this election has gotten so out of hand, and so polarized,” his candidates would contribute to a “properly functioning city government” and “won’t approach every council meeting looking for a fight, or every interaction with staff as adversarial,” Friedberg said.
The last election, in 2019, saw two incumbents aligned with Friedberg ousted, and all three new councilmembers have frequently challenged the mayor and city staff on matters ranging from zoning and flood mitigation to the city’s management and debt load.
Unofficial results Wednesday showed that two of Friedberg’s candidates — Winfred “Win” Frazier in Position 1, and Ross Gordon in Position 3 — won their races outright, while the third, Brian Witt, was barely trailing Andréa Ehlers for the Position 5 seat. That race will be decided in a runoff.
Although the only candidate on the ballot for mayor, Friedberg garnered only about 2,900 of the 3,700-plus votes cast. Frazier — in his second run for a council seat — was the council election’s top vote-getter with a convincing win 60-40 percent win over opponent Kevin Newman. He becomes the city’s first-ever black City Council member.
COUNCIL POSITION 1
|Winfred C. Frazier||2,213||60.30%|
In unofficial results for Bellaire’s Position 5 contest, Ehlers outpolled Witt by only eight votes and fell shy of the 50 percent-plus-one-vote needed to claim the office outright. Ehlers is longtime president of Friends of the Bellaire Library, and Witt serves on the city’s Environmental Sustainability Board. David Montalvo finished a distant third.
COUNCIL POSITION 5
The Position 3 candidate with whom Ehlers had aligned, Javier Vega, lost a similarly tight race to Ross Gordon, who serves as chairman of the city’s Planning & Zoning Commission.
COUNCIL POSITION 3
HOUSTON ISD DISTRICT V TRUSTEE
In the election for the HISD District V board seat, incumbent Sue Deigaard becomes one of four incumbent trustees to wind up in a runoff, after she narrowly failed to reach the 50 percent-plus level. Deigaard, who was elected in 2017, will face Caroline Walter of West University, who had strong support for the nonpartisan office from conservative Republicans and anti-vaccination, anti-mask factions.