Bienski Earns Second Term as Mayor in Bryan Elections

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Bryan's mayor has retained his post for another three years.

Jason Bienski scored a victory Tuesday night over former councilmember Mike Southerland. The incumbent earned 64 percent of the vote to Southerland's 36 percent.

Bienski, a realtor, has served on the city council since 2005, and represented Single Member District 3 prior to his successful run for mayor in 2010. The Bryan High and Texas A&M graduate has touted economic and business growth throughout his campaign, which often utilized the tagline "Keep Bryan Moving Forward."

Southerland, a retired soldier and businessman, and Bienski were often at odds during their times on the council together. Southerland was the at-large councilmember from 2006 to 2012, which meant like the mayor, he represented the entire city, not just a geographic section.

Southerland decried economic incentives used by Bienski and fellow councilmembers to draw businesses to the city, and focused his campaign more on a desire to boost amenities in the city to attract more people.

In all, 4,879 voters cast ballots in the highest profile Bryan election, which also featured a pair of council races.

Challenger Al Saenz won election to Single Member District 1 on Bryan's west side, defeating incumbent Richard Cortez. Saenz ended up with 57 percent of the vote. Three years earlier, with Saenz as the incumbent, Cortez won election to the council by a single vote. Saenz works in shipping and receiving. Cortez is a retired letter carrier.

For Single Member District 2 on the city's north side, Perry Stephney earned the most of votes and 46 percent, but needed a majority of them to avoid a runoff, which he'll now get with Rafael Pena III, who earned 33 percent. Kevin Davenport finished third with 22 percent. Stephney is a retired military and FedEx worker whose late wife, Annette, previously served as SMD2's councilmember. Realty company vendor Rafael Pena III sought the at-large seat last year but lost to Chuck Konderla. Davenport works in home health aid and unsuccessfully ran for SMD3 in 2008, losing to Bienski. SMD2's current seat holder, Paul Madison, was term-limited and could not run.

Bryan voters also determined a single school board seat. Military history company owner William "Trey" Moore defeated video production company owner Josh Smith to represent northeast Bryan and Single Member District 3. Moore earned 54 percent of the votes to Smith's 46 percent. Maritza Hoffman chose not to run for re-election for that seat.

Board President Douglas Wunneburger from SMD5 (representing southwest Bryan) and Board Secretary Felicia Benford from SMD1 (representing west Bryan) were unopposed in Tuesday's election.