Nirenberg and Brockhouse neck-and-neck in San Antonio mayor’s race

May 5, 2019

Mayor Ron Nirenberg and challenger Greg Brockhouse were neck-and-neck in the early returns of San Antonio’s much-watched mayoral race, and neither candidate had the majority needed to avoid a runoff.

With all of the early vote counted, Nirenberg had 48 percent of the vote and Brockhouse had 46 percent. The seven lesser-known candidates on the ballot were at 1 percent or lower.

Nirenberg, elected mayor two years ago, has campaigned on a humming economy while pitching his vision to guide San Antonio into the future. That vision includes far-reaching plans to tackle mass transit, affordable housing and climate change.

Brockhouse has railed against that plan and offered instead a back-to-basics municipal government that he said would “return power to the people.” He has pledged to focus on property tax relief, public safety and transparency in government.

In other races, City Council incumbents headed into election day with leads while Bexar County election officials reported low turnout at area polling locations on Saturday.

District 10

City Councilman Clayton Perry appeared to be coasting to his first re-election victory, fending off challenges from four candidates in early voting.

In a campaign that centered on crime, property taxes and street repairs and maintenance, Perry had more than 65 percent of the early votes cast prior to the low turnout on Election Day.

Reinette King had the second-highest early vote total of 17 percent, followed by Elise Kibler, Maria Perez and Linda Montellano. King had voiced concerns about favoritism in awarding of city contracts, with Perry defending the city staff’s evaluation process for competitive contract bidding.

District 7

Councilwoman Ana Sandoval was on her way to clinching a victory in her first re-election bid to represent the Northwest Side.

Early voting totals showed Sandoval leading her three challengers with 67 percent of the vote. Her challengers — Trevor Whitney, Will McLeod and Kimberly Grant — had approximately 19, 9 and 4 percent of the vote, respectively.

She grew up in that district and since taking office has spent her first term advocating for a plan to mitigate climate change, working to increase public participation in local government and addressing affordable housing shortages.

Her three challengers ran with promises to lower taxes and serve residents who feel disconnected from City Hall.

District 6

Attorney Melissa Cabello Havrda held an edge over accountant Andy Greene based on early vote totals for the open District 6 seat. Havrda garnered nearly 46 percent of the early vote with 3,003 votes, to Greene’s 37 percent at 2,427 votes.

Robert Herrera, who previously held the seat for a term more than two decades ago, secured 761 votes, or a little more than 11 percent. Mario Adame, an after school program specialist for Northside Independent School District, had a little more than 5 percent during early voting, or 373 votes.

District 3

On the South Side, City Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran led her challenger, Elizabeth “Liz” Campos, in early votes. Viagran, who is seeking her fourth and final term in office, captured 59 percent of the nearly 5,000 early ballots cast in that district, while Campos drew 41 percent.

District 3 is the city’s largest district, encompassing 84 square miles, and includes some of San Antonio’s oldest neighborhoods. Viagran, 44, noted recently that she corralled more dollars than anyone in the district’s history to address its public infrastructure needs and said she’ll keep fighting to improve streets, sidewalks and drainage.

Campos, 49, said she would be more responsive to constituents than Viagran has been. She said several longtime residents of District 3 approached her and asked her to run against Viagran because they were unhappy with the councilwoman’s response to their concerns.

The early vote total was 2,886 for Viagran and 2,017 for Campos.

District 5

West Side City Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales was well ahead of her three challengers in early voting, clinching two-thirds of more than 3,500 early ballots cast. Gonzales, 46, is also seeking her fourth and final term.

Gonzales took almost 67 percent of the early vote.

Her challengers trailed far behind. Anthony Gres, 45, drew more than 25 percent of the early vote, while Nazirite Ruben Perez, 76, captured almost 4 percent and Jilma Davila, 43, captured almost 4 percent.

The early vote totals were 2,366 for Gonzales, 906 for Gres, 138 for Davila and 133 for Perez.

District 2

Former Councilman Keith Toney has taken the lead in early voting in District 2, but the race is likely headed to a runoff due to the sheer number of candidates for the open seat.

Toney once held the seat for five months after he was appointed in 2014 to replace Ivy Taylor following her appointment to serve as mayor.

Jada Andrews-Sullivan, a small business owner, was trailing Toney with about 21 percent of the vote to his 29 percent.

Eight are vying to replace Councilman Art Hall, whom council appointed to the position after Cruz Shaw unexpectedly left council to become an associate judge. Hall opted not to run in the election.

At the heels of Andrews-Sullivan is Denise Gutierrez-Homer, an artist who has earned about 19 percent of the vote in early voting.

District 1

Incumbent Councilman Roberto Trevino, seeking his third term, more than tripled the votes of his closest competitor, Justin Holley, in the early voting results released shortly after polls closed Saturday.

Trevino had 3,495 votes, Holley had 976 and Brad Kessler had 380.

District 9

Councilman John Courage is on his way to winning a second term representing San Antonians on the North Side.

Courage, a retired teacher, led with almost 54 percent of the vote as of 7 p.m. Saturday. The next highest vote total was for financial adviser Patrick Von Dohlen with almost 41 percent, followed by Nicholas Balderas, who suspended his campaign last month and won almost 5 percent. Personal trainer Richard Reza Versace had less than 1 percent.

If re-elected, Courage said, he wants to continue overseeing some bond projects in District 9, including a new park, a senior center and increased connectivity on busy roads such as Huebner Road.

This was also the second consecutive year that Von Dohlen made a bid for the District 9 seat. He finished third two years ago, narrowly missing the runoff.

This is a developing story. Please check back later for more details.

Reports by Dylan McGuinness, Scott Huddleston, Marina Starleaf Riker, Lauren Caruba, Peggy O’Hare, Brian Chasnoff, Bruce Selcraig