San Antonio Councilman Manny Pelaez launches mayoral campaign

The District 8 councilman has been widely expected to enter the race to replace outgoing Mayor Ron Nirenberg.

click to enlarge Manny Pelaez first teased a run for San Antonio mayor as early as summer 2023. - Courtesy Photo / Manny Pelaez Campaign
Courtesy Photo / Manny Pelaez Campaign
Manny Pelaez first teased a run for San Antonio mayor as early as summer 2023.
In a move surprising virtually no one following San Antonio politics, District 8 Councilman Manny Pelaez on Tuesday formally announced his candidacy for mayor.

In a three-minute campaign video, Pelaez, 50, touched on his background as a councilman and employment-law attorney while promising to "lead with optimism and with a vision of a San Antonio that innovates and succeeds."

He also introduced his campaign slogan: "Safer. Stronger. Smarter," and unveiled a campaign website outlining broad goals such as strengthening public safety, addressing homelessness and revitalizing downtown.

Pelaez is the second member of City Council to announce plans to run for the seat being vacated by Mayor Ron Nirenberg, who can't serve again due to term limits. District 9 Councilman John Courage declared his candidacy earlier this year for the 2025 race.

District 4's Adriana Rocha Garcia and District 6's Melissa Cabello Havrda are also said to be mulling runs.

As head of council’s Economic and Workforce Development Committee and former chair of the Brooks Development Authority, Pelaez likely will be the most business-aligned candidate in the race. He's also clearly marked himself as firmly in the establishment's corner.

When criminal-justice reform groups landed the San Antonio Justice Charter on the 2023 ballot, Pelaez was among council's most outspoken opponents of the package. Voters ultimately rejected the charter, which would have expanded cite-and-release for low level crimes while decriminalizing pot possession and abortion.

Pelaez subsequently faced accusations of making a U-turn on criminal-justice reform after telling the San Antonio Report he wants the city to expunge the records of people convicted of petty crimes.

Additionally, Pelaez drew the ire of pro-Palestinian activists by pulling his name from a memo that would have allowed council to debate a resolution calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.

The councilman first telegraphed his interest in running for mayor in summer of 2023, when he circulated a four-question survey to constituents asking their opinion on what issues he should tackle should he pursue the office.

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Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.

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