With former District 2 Councilwoman Ivy Taylor selected as interim mayor, potential candidates are weighing whether to run for San Antonio’s highest office in the general election.
For now, though, much of the public conversation has been about what challenges Taylor faces going into the next 10 months. Since she’s pledged not to run for mayor, the conversation is a short one.
But just because much of the focus is on Taylor–the Alamo City’s first African American mayor (and second female mayor)–doesn’t mean the horses aren’t lining up at the gate for the general election.
Just two days after Taylor was voted in as interim mayor, State Rep. Mike Villarreal (No. 11 on the illustration), whom Rick Casey called the frontrunner in an opinion piece for the San Antonio Express-News in early July, sent a fundraising email to supporters.
“With the interim transition completed, it is time to start preparing for the election in earnest. I need your help as I take on this new challenge,” Villarreal wrote in the July 24 email. “San Antonio is growing fast. To take advantage of expanding opportunities and tackle rising challenges, we need strength and vision. This is why I am running for mayor and building a broad-based coalition—not just to win the next mayoral election—but also to lead, [sic] San Antonio into our best days yet.”
While Villarreal may be the frontrunner, one Bexar county commissioner is cryptically keeping his options open.
In a July 20 Facebook post, outgoing Precinct 4 Commissioner Tommy Adkisson (No. 12 on the illustration) posted a photo of City Hall, along with the words: “Keeping my options open.” The post, which garnered nearly 300 likes, a handful of shares and 30 commenters, may contain a potential Adkisson mayoral campaign talking point. A commenter asked the commissioner what his vision as mayor would be and Adkisson obliged.
“Families and neighborhoods were important in the county judge race and they should also be in the mayor’s race,” Adkisson, who lost the Democratic primary for county judge earlier this year, wrote.
Adkisson clarified (sort of) when reached by phone on Monday.
“It [the Facebook post] means that all the possibilities are still on the table, that would certainly include running for mayor. I didn’t necessarily come to that particularly easy. I thought I would be county judge, as I just got through an aggressive county-wide race for county judge,” Adkisson said of his loss to current Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff. “If I had known what would go on in the mayor’s office,” he said, referring to the wide-open mayoral race now that Julián Castro is safely in D.C. as HUD secretary, “the reality is [the mayor’s office] is open and that takes care of a lot of my core issues, like neighborhoods [and] balanced growth, which is the basics of my philosophy.”
Not saying what or when it would be, Adkisson said he’s working up to some kind of an announcement that “requires thoughtfulness.”
And then there’s District 6 Councilman Ray Lopez (who showed considerable class and leadership when withdrawing from his intention to seek the interim mayoral spot, allowing Taylor to clinch the position during voting). Will he run for mayor?
“You know, it’s always good to never say never,” Lopez said on Monday, adding that the only announcement he had at that moment was to let District 6 know he will be running for that seat again.
So while Villarreal may be the shoo-in (by virtue of being the only one to officially throw his hat in the race right now), it seems that Adkisson strongly intends to persuade San Antonio’s voters otherwise.
“This race for mayor is evident. And candidates not given the opportunity to do everything like they would like to have to assess developments of the present and figure out how best to take advantage of this,” Adkisson said.