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.