By Charlotte Aguilar
Gus Pappas has been elected Bellaire mayor, outpolling Aaron Perry 57-43 percent in a runoff Saturday (Dec. 9).
Only about a quarter of the city’s 13,539 registered voters — 3,301 in all — cast ballots in the race that will determine the city’s leadership over the next two years. The unofficial results:
|Gus E. Pappas
For Perry, an unknown in city government circles until he filed his candidacy papers, the 1,419 votes he garnered came with a price tag of more than $60,000, believed to be record spending on a Bellaire campaign. He seized on popular themes — fear of crime, concerns about the METRO Transit Center, homeless on Bellaire streets, drainage issues, debt — in a barrage of direct mail ads and paid social media advertising and planted dozens of campaign signs on high visibility street locations.
With all that, Perry ended up picking up scant new support — 114 votes more than in the first round —despite the endorsements of Councilman Nathan Wesely, who had placed third in the mayor’s race, and two other council incumbents.
Pappas’ 1,880 votes slightly outpaced his performance in the Nov. 7 general election, where he topped the three-man field with 1,827 votes. He ran a more low-key campaign, including use of free social media and email.
The new mayor is a former two-term councilmember who served four years as mayor pro tem until he was term-limited from seeking re-election. An attorney and 25-year Bellaire resident, he and wife Pamela have raised three daughters in the city.
He and three councilmembers elected last month — incumbent Catherine Lewis, along with Cindy Cohen Taylor and Jackie Georgiou — will be installed at the Jan. 8 City Council meeting.