GALVESTON — Once the smoke had cleared Saturday, the notion that island voters were primed to pass harsh judgment on the entire City Council just didn’t hold up.

The results were more akin to a commando raid than a carpet-bombing, with incumbents faring well about as often as they fell. The only pattern detectable in the early aftermath of Election 2014 was this: Incumbents most closely allied with Mayor Lewis Rosen tended to struggle, while those most often at odds with the mayor did well.    

The most notable change came in District 6, on the island’s West End, where controversial incumbent Marie Robb was unseated in landslide fashion by real estate executive Carolyn Sunseri, a political newcomer. Sunseri took 928 votes, 69.4 percent, to Robb’s 409 votes for 30.6 percent, according to complete but unofficial returns.

“I am extremely blessed with the turnout and I will pledge to make the citizens of Galveston proud of this next council,” Sunseri said.

Robb had been an unwavering member of a four-vote bloc that included Rosen, former District 2 Councilman Rusty Legg, who didn’t run, and District 1 Councilwoman Cornelia Harris Banks.

Unlike Robb, Banks survived the night but found herself running second to former council member Tarris Woods, who took 271 votes for 46.6 percent. Banks mustered 217 votes, for 37.3 percent, according to complete, unofficial results.

Ronald Dean came in third with 93 votes, 16 percent. The race for District 1 will be decided in a June 21 runoff.

On the other hand, District 4 Councilman Norman Pappous, who often was at odds with the mayor’s four-vote bloc, won handily against an opponent who had landed several endorsements, including that of The Daily News. Pappous took 419 votes, for almost 59 percent, against David Hoover, who took 293 votes for 41 percent, according to complete, unofficial results.

“We’re just thankful,” Pappous said. “We worked hard. It was a humbling experience. When the voters have confidence in you, and they turn out, it’s just humbling.”

Likewise, incumbent District 5 Councilwoman Terrilyn Tarlton, who also often butted heads with Rosen, not only avoided a runoff against two challengers, but achieved the night’s clearest statement of support by taking 849 votes for 70.6 percent, according to complete, unofficial results.   

“We are just overwhelmed with gratitude and very thankful that people took the time to get out and vote,” Tarlton said. “I’m looking forward to serving for another two years.”

Challenger Diana Bertini took 287 votes, 23.8 percent, and Bill Quiroga took 66 votes for 5.5 percent.

Voters also handed a clear mandate to City Council newcomer Craig Brown, who took 465 votes, for almost 58 percent, in District 2, according to complete, unofficial returns. 

“I just want to thank everyone in District 2 for their support,” Brown said. “And I wanted to say what an honor it has been to run against the other two candidates.”

Former city council member Susan Fennewald took 136 votes for almost 17 percent in District 2, while Richard Batie took 202 votes for 25.2 percent, according to complete, unofficial returns.

In District 3, council newcomer Ralph McMorris, a businessman, claimed victory over Kate Marx, a certified public accountant. 

McMorris, who won despite his opponent gathering endorsements from The Daily News and other island institutions, took 391 votes, for just more than 52 percent; Marx took 360 votes for almost 48 percent, according to complete, unofficial results. 

McMorris could not be reached for comment.

The new council is scheduled to be sworn in May 19, when the votes will be canvassed and declared official, according to the city secretary.

Contact Associate Editor Michael A. Smith at 409-683-5206 or

(18) comments

Susan Fennewald

Congratulations to all the winners - and especially to Craig Brown, my opponent in district 2. After this campaign season, I'm just glad runoffs were avoided in the mayor's race and most of the council districts. It makes it easier to just move on - as smoothly and quickly as possible.
Once again, congratulations and good luck to the new council.

Evelyn Clark

I was so happy to see the others Mrs. B and Mr. Mc lose. I thought the way they

campaing against JY , it seems like they were married. (SMILE) Ijust wish we had a

council all around. The last Mayor and council was good for nothing. JUST SAYING

[sad] [sad] [sad]

GW Cornelius

Now we need to get busy and make sure Woods does not get elected.

Norman Pappous

If your performance in the District 4 race is any prognosticator, Cornelia should avoid your support like the plague. [whistling]

George Croix

Remember, you're supposed to be working on that sarcasm...[wink][smile]
Besides, trying to train a weasel is like trying to hold a handful of helium...

Ron Shelby

Uncool and inappropriate councilman Pappous. Not sure how great you are for Galveston, only for keeping public housing from your district. That attitude won't take you much farther.

Steve Fouga

Ron, I can't tell what Councilman Pappous is talking about in his post. What do you think he's talking about? Why is it inappropriate?

Ron Shelby

Then you need to go back to school Jake. Norman knows what I'm saying. Not cool though. He didn't win by some absolute number with no competition. It was actually a good race. A good portion of those in his precinct weren't happy by his performance so he's not representing them all. Just the ones supporting him. The rest he's left on their own,...and worse, not good for Galveston as a whole.

Steve Fouga

Oh. It seemed like you were confirming that Island Runner is Mr Pappous's opponent, Mr Hoover. That's the only way the response would be inappropriate. Is that what you were confirming? Forgive me if I'm slow.

Not being an Island insider like you, I didn't know that Island Runner was Mr Hoover. In fact, I've been wondering who Island Runner was for weeks, as he spouted his silly one-liners on these boards.

So, I guess I've gone back to school. Thanks, Mr Shelby.

Just to be clear, is Island Runner one-and-the-same as Mr Hoover? Or is Island Runner someone else? The world wonders...[whistling]

Norman Pappous

Ron public housing was never going in District 4. As for inappropriate - it is a simple observation. Island Runner was negative for months on my candidacy and never once asked me for help with anything in my two years on council. I responded to every request and communication from my constituents. I know who Island Runner is and his issue is a personal one - has nothing to do with what is best for District 4.

Norman Pappous

"A good portion of those in his precinct weren't happy by his performance so he's not representing them all."

Ron, by definition I represent District 4. If what you say is correct then no politician that lacks 100% of the vote truly represents their constituents. That's just silly. I may not like President Obama but realize he represents this country.

Ana Draa

Amen! Cornelia has well served our city. Woods would be a disaster.

Don Ciaccio

Cornelia's last alignment with the "failing four" says that Tarris deserves a shot. She was definitely part of the problem on the last council. Her voting bl

Don Ciaccio

Her voting block tells me it's time for a change.

Ron Shelby

It seems like, for years, its been one or the other on council. Not casting any judgements, just wondering why.

Mary Branum

Cornelia is an advocate of small business and growth. Her opponent is an advocate for his own pocket. From someone who lives in District 1, for 10 years, Cornelia is the ONLY City Council member I have ever met in my district. None of the others gave the time of day to their constituents.

GW Cornelius

Four out of seven ain't bad. If I had really got behind Hoover it could have easily been five out of seven. However at this point it is time to do what's best for Galveston and that is to get Cornelia Harris Banks re-elected.

George Croix

Funny how victory turns the calls for civility about 180 degrees....[wink][wink][wink]

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