UPDATE (11:05 p.m. Dec. 14, 2019): Nathan Wesely and Jim Hotze maintained seemingly insurmountable leads in their races for Bellaire City Council seats at 11 p.m. Saturday, four hours after polls closed.
More than 1,900 ballots had been tallied from 323 out of 385 Harris County voting centers with these results:
Nathan Wesely 1,145 60.20 percent
Winfred Frazier 757 39.80 percent
Jim Hotze 1,136 59.88 percent
David R. Montague 761 40.12 percent
By Charlotte Aguilar
With more than 1,100 early votes counted, two candidates who are challenging the current direction of Bellaire city government hold commanding leads in their races for City Council seats.
Accountant and Bellaire business owner Jim Hotze is leading incumbent Councilmember David Montague, a retired oil company executive who was running for re-election for the Position 6 seat 714-412 votes, or 63.4-36.5 percent.
And for the Position 4 seat in which Councilmember Pat McLaughlan was term-limited, attorney Nathan Wesely, a political newcomer, leads attorney Winfred “Win” Frazier 737-391 votes, or 65.3-34.6 percent.
Montague and Frazier, a former Planning & Zoning chair and civic activist who had aligned himself with current city leadership, openly supported the current direction of Bellaire toward increased commercial and mixed-use development, while Wesely and Hotze reflected growing concerns about Bellaire’s debt and spending, as well as perceived straying from its “City of Homes” focus on single family homes and neighborhood protections.
In the general election Nov. 5, Mayor Andrew Friedberg was re-elected, but incumbent Position 2 Councilwoman Trisha Pollard was upset by first-time office seeker Catherine Lewis, a Ph.D. geologist who then campaigned vigorously in the runoff for Wesely and Hotze to join her at the counciltable.
Because of new county voting regulations, Bellaire voters could vote at any precinct today, so final results of the balloting may not be known for some time.