Early/absentee votes show incumbents, charter amendments leading in Bellaire

By Charlotte Aguilar

The polls closed at 7 p.m., and with early and absentee votes tallied immediately, it appears Mayor Andrew Friedberg is on his way to a second term, and incumbent Position 5 Councilmember Michael Fife holding the edge in her bid for a full, four-year term.

Friedberg is leading challenger Riquelmy with nearly 94 percent of the vote, 355-24, in the first tallies. Fife leads longtime Councilmember Jim Avioli 207-166, or 55-45 percent, in early voting.

In the race for Position 1, a seat opened by term limits, Neil Verma has 257 votes to Kevin Newman’s 112, or 70-30 percent. Verma is chairman of the city’s Parks & Recreation Advisory Board and Charter Review Committee, while Newman is vice chair of the LIFE seniors board.

Position 3 Councilmember Gus Pappas was unopposed and will be re-elected.

The early votes also show support for passage of all 18 proposed amendments to the Bellaire City Charter, the first time it has been updated in 11 years.

Votes are expected soon in all but one precinct, said City Secretary Tracy Dutton. The judge for Precinct 268 has indicated he will send results directly to the county without supplying them to the city of Bellaire, which will delay reporting of the final vote results, she said.

Candidates in the Bellaire municipal election. (Not pictured is mayoral candidate Robert Riquelmy, who chooses not to submit a photograph.) (InstantNews graphic)