Join SA Current Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Mayoral Race Headed to Runoff After Brockhouse Delivers a Surprisingly Close Contest

Posted By on Sat, May 4, 2019 at 11:24 PM

  • Ron Nirenberg photo by Bryan Rindfuss // Greg Brockhouse photo by Jade Esteban Estrada
Even though the progressive majority on San Antonio's city council appears to have survived Saturday's municipal election, Mayor Ron Nirenberg — who steered much of its agenda — is headed to a June runoff to keep his job.

At press time, and with most precincts counted, Nirenberg led challenger Greg Brockhouse by just 3 percentage points, or 3,200 votes, which was not enough to claim a clear majority.

At his victory party in Westover Hills, Brockhouse — who ran an underfunded populist campaign — said the results shows Nirenberg is out of touch with local voters. The one-term District 6 councilman said his rival's plans to deal with climate change, transportation and affordable downtown housing aim to "change San Antonio into something it isn't."

"He doesn't know the neighborhoods," Brockhouse said. "He doesn't know San Antonio."

At a watch party at a downtown barbecue restaurant — and surrounded by power players such as philanthropist Gordon Hartman and former mayor Phil Hardberger — Nirenberg said he was up for a second matchup with Brockhouse.

After pointing out that he'd won every contested race he run in a runoff, the mayor took a swipe at Brockhouse's long history of working for the city's police and fire unions, which heavily bankrolled his underdog campaign.

"The special interests are doubling down on their guy and San Antonio is going to double down on me," Nirenberg said. "So, I like those odds."

In the final days leading up to the election, local political experts agreed that the race was likely to be close, especially as Brockhouse used council's vote to exclude Chick-Fil-A from an airport concessions contract over its donations to anti-LGBTQ groups as a means to energize evangelical voters.

Arturo Vega, a political science professor at St. Mary's University, said Brockhouse likely benefited from traditionally high turnout from largely white and conservative-leaning North Side districts. While Brockhouse ran a spirited campaign, Vega added that his biggest benefit might have been a disengaged electorate.

"I don't know that I'd credit Brockhouse as much as I'd blame the mayor's campaign," Vega said. "If the mayor wins on a narrow margin, he may need to look at it and say, 'I may be moving too fast for voters.'"

Stay on top of San Antonio news and views. Sign up for our Weekly Headlines Newsletter.

Tags: , , , , , ,

San Antonio Current works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of San Antonio and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep San Antonio's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

May 20, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2020 San Antonio Current

Website powered by Foundation