A longtime name in local government for the City of Corpus Christi was ousted as mayor by voters on Saturday, while a pair of new faces who campaigned on the promise of progress were elected into office in landslide victories.
Mayor Henry Garrett, who has served more than 40 years as the city's police chief, a councilman and mayor, was defeated by a 2-to-1 margin by newcomer Joe Adame. Adame, who owns a longtime real estate business which carries his name and has never held public office, garnered 17,126 votes. Garrett received 7,837 votes and another challenger, Douglas Schaffer, received 1,152 votes.
Including early voting totals, the total number of people who went to the polls Saturday was 25,516, which is about 16 percent of the city's 164,697 registered voters.
In the race for the District 1 City Council seat, which is being vacated by incumbent Bill Kelly due to term limits, voters overwhelmingly selected banker Kevin Kieschnick over three other candidates.
Kieschnick received 1,678 votes, which was about 57 percent of the vote, meaning there will not have to be a run-off election for the seat. Opponent Jesse Molina finished with 609 votes, while Tom Watson garnered 398 votes. Kieschnick's final opponent, Dean Flinn, received 221 votes.
Kieschnick said Monday that he was overwhelmed by the amount of support he received from voters in giving him a substantial victory.
"I'm very excited and it's a great opportunity," Kieschnick said. "We worked really hard to get this campaign together and I took a lot of time to educate myself on the issues. I think the voters are tired of seeing the city run by referendum and committees and they want their elected officials to make decisions."
Kieschnick said he is pro-growth, supporting such controversial projects such as the Las Brisas Energy Center power plant. He also supports the demolition of the Memorial Coliseum, though only if no other use can be found for the facility.
Kieschick said he made his stance on the projects known early on, while his opponents failed to do so.
"With that (stance), I wanted the voters to know that when push comes to shove, I will make a decision," Kieschnick said.
A swearing in ceremony will be held May 19 for the new city council members. Kieschnick said he is looking forward to working with his new colleagues, including the new mayor, to help move the city forward.
"I think we have a very like-minded council that was elected and I really feel like we're going to be able to get some things done," he said.
In other races:
Incumbent Nelda Martinez was the top vote-getter in the at-large race, with 13,608 votes. Former city councilman Brent Chesney received 12,017 votes, while Mark Scott garnered 11,123 votes, beating out challenger David Loeb for third place by just over 100 votes.
Other incumbents to win reelection were District 2 councilman John Marez and District 5 councilman Larry Elizondo. Marez received 2,458 votes, while challenger William Henneberger received 1,026 votes.
By comparison, Elizondo defeated challenger Rex Kinnison by 112 votes.
Chris Adler won the District 4 seat over her opponent Webster Pell. The seat was vacated by incumbent Michael McCutchon, who chose not to seek reelection.
The District 3 race between incumbent Priscilla Leal and challenger Roland Barrera will head to a run-off.