GALVESTON — Jim Yarbrough didn’t think he would win by this much.

In fact, he was so unsure of the results of the city’s mayoral race, he did not plan a victory party, he said. Instead, he stayed home and saved his campaign money for a presumed runoff.

That’s money he will not need to spend.

Yarbrough was elected mayor of Galveston on Saturday, according to complete but unofficial results, garnering 59 percent of the vote. He finished well ahead of District 3 Councilwoman Elizabeth Beeton, who earned 24 percent of the vote.

For Yarbrough, the victory marks the end of a four-year hiatus from elected office. From 1994 to 2010, he was county judge.

“I’ve been around the block enough times to know that you always prepare for the worst case,” Yarbrough said. “The worst case was a runoff, so we had mentally prepared for it.”

Yarbrough had been a clear favorite since announcing his intentions in October. Soon after Yarbrough announced his intentions, incumbent Mayor Lewis Rosen announced he would not seek re-election and became one the campaign’s most visible supporters.

He was hardly the only supporter though. Yarbrough raised more than $113,000 during the campaign.

“I’m not a good fundraiser,” Yarbrough said. “People have just been very generous. I never made a phone call.”

Following a campaign that was largely on the perceived dysfunctions of the current city council, Yarbrough said restoring confidence in elected leaders would be one of his top priorities.

“We’ll begin to move this city toward honoring the charter and let the city management run the place,” Yarbrough said.

There was perhaps a little irony in Yarbrough being in his Broadway home on election night. Early in the campaign, Beeton and island businessman Don Mafrige joined forces to challenge Yarbrough’s eligibility to run based on this residency.

The challenge was unsuccessful: Galveston’s city secretary upheld Yarbrough’s eligibility and a state judge declined to hear an appeal.

Mafrige and Beeton continued to launch other attacks at Yarbrough but were not able to pull enough votes to force a runoff.

Mafrige finished with 16 percent of the vote, about 882 votes total. 

According to campaign finance reports submitted to the city before the race, Mafrige, the chairman of the city’s finance committee, spent the largest amount of money.

“We ran a good race,” Mafrige said. “The people and the community certainly made their choice on Jim Yarbrough, and I certainly congratulate him.”

A fourth candidate, Raymond Guzman, received 66 votes.

In total, 5,567 people cast ballots in mayor’s race. The 1,707 votes that Yarbrough received from early voting alone was more than Beeton’s total of 1,358 votes.

For Beeton, the loss in the election marks the end of her six-year tenure on the city council. In a phone call from her home on Saturday night, she said she would miss serving the city.

“I’m a little envious of the new council because I think it’s a good council,” Beeton said. “It’s much more likely to be citizen-oriented than the recent past. I’m sorry to have been a part of this last council, instead of the next one.”


Contact reporter John Wayne Ferguson at 409-683-5226 or

(31) comments

Ron Shelby

Time to mend fences and move forward. There's more than enough work on various committees and boards to keep everyone who wants to serve busy.

GW Cornelius

Amen to Ron, time to fix it instead of breaking it.

Ana Draa

Congratulations Mayor Yarbrough! Looking forward to seeing what your administration brings to our beloved island.

Don Ciaccio

Congrats to Jim. If he can't fix this island, no one can.

Robert Buckner

This race was getting a bit nasty. Big Jim didn't resort to the petty nonsense like his other challengers threw out there and prove who the better candidate/person was in this race. Congrats Jim!

JT Edwards

Now we need to heal and move forward.

Jarvis Buckley

Congrats to Big Jim, no doubt I was and EB backer, but Big Jim won by such a large margin
I must have been wrong. He now has my full support and best wishes. But one last time thank you
EB for your outstanding service to our little island all these years.

George Lee

He'll be an excellent catalyst!

George Croix

Congrats to all the winners.
Here's hoping the winners include the citizens of Galveston, too, as they could use it.

Jeff Smith

This an exciting time to be on council. I see so much potential for getting things done, all while moving forward. Proud of Mayor Judge!

Ron Shelby

I'm tired of all this infighting. This is what I would like to see as a property owner on the island. Protect the value of our properties on the island. At the same time, preserve the right of those who have lived there before. I don't see it fair that they should actually be kicked off. Find a way to promote some low to mid average income housing. (the island will die without). Add gambling.

We are way behind and it will kill us without. Find a way to develop a much higher design level along the seawall similar to Miami and other areas (we'll die otherewise too). Look at Providence Road Island, which is ALWAYS loaded with tourists for some keys to Galveston development including scooters, bikes, etc.. Incredible prices there. What's the difference?? It could really help.

I ABSOLUTELY understand those buying along the seawall not being blocked out. I'd suggest that once they sell their properties, that those on the front row be converted to a higher building permits. Let them build then higher since the others didn't buy on the front row. Its a compromise. If you wanted unobstructed views forever, you should have bought on the first row otherwise, preserve your view while you own it., but no guarantee afterwards.

Next: what can we do with and Ike Dike Concept??? Otherwise, fight tooth and nail on flood and wind insurance. Also, I have no support for those who carry NO insurance, and yet expect FEMA to pay. They should be out. I was frustrated watching those insured paying a LARGE chunck, and those uninsured getting free money. Not fair. Government's not always fair, but REALLY not fair when you've been paying premiums of $3K a year for many years, and the ones paying nothing get a huge free chunk to rebuild . I'm tired of it.

Norman Pappous

" I don't see it fair that they should actually be kicked off."

I wrote a column in the Daily News asking for anyone that lived here the day before Ike and could not come back but wanted to. I made the same offer during two council meetings. I heard back from no one.

Both the chairman of the Board of GHA and the previous ED of the GHA stated on camera that every displaced GHA resident that wanted to come back was back.

Evelyn Clark

Non of the PH people ttrust Rosen , NP, MR, Leggs, Ms.T, MS. Robb. so be it
di not trust you NP because of the Central Schoo

Steve Fouga

All the best to Mr Yarbrough! I have high hopes that when he takes the reins we'll see some positive movement. He seems like a man of action.

I'm tired of the infighting too. Healthy debate and mild conflict is almost always helpful, but mean-spirited arguments and childish tantrums have no place in the Council chamber. I bet we've seen the last of that, because I can't imagine such shenanigans in a Yarbrough-led Council meeting. I voted for Mrs Beeton, but I clearly see that Big Jim is a man to be reckoned with.

Ron covered several issues this city needs to address. I'd add Port expansion, to provide a reason to build those middle-class homes. I'd also add infrastructure -- mainly pavement -- so our city doesn't seem so third-worldly.

This place could be so great, but it's not. Not yet.

Ron Shelby

Is it bad if I say?? move if you don't like it.

Steve Fouga

Well, it would definitely be bad form. But since I don't hold you in real high regard, it wouldn't hurt my feelings or anything.

So, go ahead -- say it if you want to.

Miss Priss

I agree with Ron on theses issues below. However, Texas is not set-up and might have higher expectations for the gaming industry. These littered game rooms are just a small issue that shows how little the legislature is behind and how ugly the joints are on the state highways. If legalized and force to pay taxes like other businesse, it solves that issue and enables the communities to have the proper public safety in place.

Gaming is above the city level. County has done nothing to put this forward. You never hear them talk about the obvious benefits but no businessman - Tillman Fertitia included will begin this venture here unless the state is will to support this financially - he's not going to do it on his own. Do you know how much support he had when going into Nevada. The people who all used to work for him will tell you that one no matter what he says. LA and MS play ball with him.

One other thing Ron Shelby..... Not sure if you read the Guidry news but Mark Henry has hired another HR officer and another budget officer. Gosh turnover has been high since you left. Despite putting claims of smaller government ..... This commiss court has plugged two people into the job you used to do by yourself. He interviewed them via Skype like he invented video conferencing. :-)

He might want to try and attain a contract with a video conferencing company that handles confidentially than to go through Skype. Real CEOs have the mindset to think about things like that.

Ron Shelby

Funny thing, the budget officer came from my area here. Though he was in Palm Beach, he was previously in Roswell GA, the next town over.

Didn't know on the HR. Good. About time. Hopefully better than the last. I screwed up there. Person wasn't who I thought they were. I learned.

As for gaming. I think long term good But to do it. The COUNTY must be in the mix. Metropolis Ill got gambling, and the county was not in the revenue mix and ended up costing them TONS of money. I spoke with the city's finance director and mayor about it. Too bad for them.

Ron Shelby

FYI, I hate these 8-liner gas station game rooms.

Norman Pappous

I have an ordinance coming on just that issue! [beam]

Dwight Burns

Congratulation to Big Jim...

Galveston voters have turned a page on the 2010 election. I hope the City will
heal itself from the damage done by the previous administration by working for the best interest of all the people of the City.

Jarvis Buckley

Jake pay close attention, what is being said ,is the way it's been here for 50 years. Seek and destroy .

Evelyn Clark

Non of the PH people will trust you NP, , RL, CH, EB, and the Mayor.

Why would they want to talk to you when they knew you were trying to keep them

off this Island. You worked day and night to find a way . I wish that the

whole council was voted off and let Galveston start fresh . Thanks to JY I feel

like he will listen to everyone,,and not try to have people put out of the cities

meetings like the last council.

Norman Pappous

"Why would they want to talk to you when they knew you were trying to keep them

off this Island."

I was the only City council member to write a column asking anyone who was forced off the island and wanted to be back to contact me. I repeated that offer several times on TV during Council.

Steve Greenburg and Buddy Herz also made the same offers publicly.

How many responses were received by people who were forced off and wanted to come back? Zero.

If you know of anyone who lived here the day before Ike and can't come home - have them contact me and I will get them back on the island.

George Croix

If you value your life, don't hold your breath while waiting....

Gary Miller

How many responses were received by people who were forced off and wanted to come back? Zero.
Wrong question.
You should ask how many want off the Island and can't afford the move.

Albert Redmond

Facts don't matter...ideology trumps.

George Croix

'PH people'?

Steve Fouga


Gary Miller

Over 90 % of Galveston's population didn't vote for JY.
A 10.5 % turnout guarantees the pro government vote will win.
Yes PH residents vote 90 % pro government.

Liberal rot is success to progressives.

Jarvis Buckley

time to take this one off Heber. Point has been made.

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