HOUSTON -- Mayor Kathy Whitmire, challenged by a crowded but politically unknown field, easily won her fourth term as the city's leader Tuesday.
With 394 of the city's 661 precincts reporting, Whitmire led with 107,787 votes, or 73.25 percent.
The next closest contender, Bill Anderson, had 17,229 votes for 11.71 percent. The remaining votes were split between five candidates.
Whitmire, 41, launched her initial campaign in 1981, becoming Houston's first woman mayor.
'There is no celebration quite like celebrating a victory on election night,' Whitmire said in claiming the victory.
This year's campaign was low key and went largely unnoticed, with none of the extensive television advertisements that characterized the previous mayoral election.
Harris County officials predicted a low voter turnout. Vice President George Bush and his wife Barbara were among the morning voters. Bush maintains his legal residence in Houston.
Whitmire and former five-term Mayor Louie Welch clashed in a hard-fought and emotional 1985 campaign, which was filled with controversy over the city's gay population and a gay rights ordinance that was defeated by a 4-1 margin.
The Gay Rights Caucus, which has endorsed Whitmire in the past, did not endorse any candidate for mayor during this election.
Whitmire defeated Anderson, Glenn Arnett, Shelby Oringder, Mary Pritchard, Don Geil and Dick Dimond.
She raised $780,741 for her campaign, while none of her little-known opponents raised more than $24,406. Despite virtual assurance of an easy victory, Whitmire did spend nearly $300,000 campaigning.
Whitmire and Welch each raised $1.4 million for their 1985 battle. Whitmire won that election by getting 60 percent of the vote.
A Houston native, Whitmire served as city controller between 1977 and 1981. She was named Woman of the Year by the Texas Women's Political Caucus in 1982.