Three undecided May 1 City Council elections affecting North Central neighborhoods are headed to a June 5 runoff.
Meanwhile, one San Antonio Independent School District trustee was ousted, and three political newcomers scored victories in Terrell Hills and the Alamo Heights Independent School District.
Early voting for the runoff is May 24-June 1.
More than 17% of registered voters went to the polls, awarding Mayor Ron Nirenberg a third term after facing challenger Greg Brockhouse.
Unlike the 2019 race where he was forced into a hotly contested runoff with Brockhouse, the former District 6 councilman, Nirenberg this time easily won reelection with nearly 62% of the vote.
Brockhouse secured 31%, followed by Denise Gutierrez-Homer and Gary Allen out of a 14-candidate field.
Nirenberg has made pandemic recovery, workforce training and infrastructure investment his top priorities for his next two years in public office.
“Thank you San Antonio, we did it together,” Nirenberg said in a video statement.
However, District 1 Councilman Roberto Treviño did not avoid a runoff. He finished with 44.9% — short of the 50% threshold. Mario Bravo, an Environmental Defense Fund project manager, finished second with 33%.
Seeking a fourth full term, Treviño wants to concentrate on expanding pandemic relief for homeowners, renters, and food and beverage industry workers. He also seeks to continue sidewalk improvements, and to enhance the city’s response to homelessness.
Preparing for the June 5 runoff, Treviño promised he’d work to promote his achievements and lay out his goals for the next two years if reelected.
“I knew coming into this election that it was different. The pandemic and current political climate have brought awareness to our governing processes and pressed for community leaders to be held accountable to their responsibilities,” Treviño added.
Bravo’s priorities are include improving public health and safety, and post-pandemic economic development. He added his campaign is one of bringing new ideas to District 1.
“District 1 has spoken, it’s time for new leadership,” Bravo told supporters.
In a busy District 2 race, teacher Jalen McKee-Rodriguez and his former boss, incumbent Councilwoman Jada Andrews-Sullivan, were the top two vote-getters. District 2 covers much of the East Side and includes Mahncke Park and part of Brackenridge Park.
Andrews-Sullivan’s campaign themes include improving roads, drainage and sidewalks, economic development, affordable housing, expanding availability of COVID-19 vaccines, and public safety.
McKee-Rodriguez supports equitable COVID vaccine distribution; more affordable, accessible health care; affordable housing; more holistic approaches to homelessness; and increased police accountability.
McKee-Rodriguez argued the incumbent is a favorite of developers and has been non-responsive to community members.
“Working class, regular (sic) people deserve a voice on the dais and I’m proud to be a piece of the progressive movement to make this happen,” he added.
Local Community News, NOWCastSA and San Antonio Heron will co-host a District 2 runoff candidate forum 2 to 3:30 p.m. May 16 at Ella Austin Community Center, 1023 N. Pine St.
Residents may attend the free, outdoor event, but must also wear a mask and practice social distancing. Pre-registration is encouraged if residents wish to pose a question to the candidates. NOWCastSA will also livestream the forum.
Teacher/community organizer Teri Castillo and retired city employee Rudy Lopez will face each other in the District 5 runoff. District 5 covers much of the West Side and the Lone Star neighborhood.
Castillo’s campaign priorities have included affordable housing, fighting gentrification, upgrading roads and transportation, support for small businesses, environmental protection and boosting community-led strategies to improve public safety.
“As part of our post-pandemic recovery, District 5 needs more good-paying job opportunities. In City Council, I will fight hard for this to happen,” she added.
Lopez advocates raising street and sidewalk funding, responsible development, increasing community access to city resources, expanding internet services and ensuring seniors have access to basic services.
“I am truly humbled by the outpouring of support and well wishes I received along the way,” he said.
District 10’s Clayton Perry won reelection with 54%. He called his victory a reaffirmation by voters “for what I have done for this district.”
The electorate also passed a City Charter amendment that enables San Antonio to issue bonds for permanent public improvements, such as building affordable housing, or others not prohibited by the Texas Constitution.
A more controversial initiative that proposed repealing police officers’ collective bargaining rights was narrowly rejected by 51% of voters. The San Antonio Police Officers Association used its Facebook page to thank Proposition B opponents.
“You voted overwhelmingly to support your San Antonio police and ensured that we can continue to keep our neighborhoods safe,” the group posted.
Police reformers such as Fix SAPD argued SAPOA misled voters into thinking approval of Proposition B would instantly cut police funding.
Fix SAPD pledged to keep backing greater accountability for police, especially officers accused of misconduct.
San Antonian Clay Page topped Elissa Sangster and claimed the Place 5 seat, replacing Bonnie Giddens.
Having won his first bid for public office, Page said he learned a lot on the campaign trail.
“We had a great team spreading our positive message and I believe the voters answered,” added Page, a parent and general contractor. “Our goal and message has always been what is in the best interests of the children.”
San Antonian Carey Watson Hildebrand, a parent/volunteer and substitute teacher, beat Alamo Heights’ Travis Wiltshire and won the Place 7 post. She replaces Perry Shankle, who declined a reelection bid.
“I want you to know I heard you and I will keep my promise to represent you,” Hildebrand told supporters.
Civic volunteer Emmy Rogers Ballantyne received 70% to win the Place 3 council race, beating attorney Kristyl Smith. She replaces the retiring William Ochse III.
Ballantyne is the daughter-in-law of former Mayor Anne Ballantyne. She said she’ll work to ensure that Terrell Hills remains “wonderful, close-knit community that I was raised in and am so proud of.”
“I vow to be a good steward of the citizens’ resources through careful budgeting and planning, and to serve as an open, approachable council member that our neighbors can trust to have their best interests,” she added.
Lavaca resident and COVID-19 case investigator Sarah Sorensen scored 54.8% and upset two-term District 1 trustee Steve Lecholop, an attorney and a King William resident.
Sorensen focused her campaign on providing neighborhood schools with wraparound services, and better engagement with students, district employees, parents and other community members.
“I knew that win or lose, we had something important to say,” she said.
Early voting for the runoffs will be held 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 24-28, and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 29 and June 1 at area sites such as Lions Field, 2809 Broadway, San Antonio College Victory Center, 1819 N. Main Ave., Tobin Library at Oakwell, 4134 Harry Wurzbach, and the county elections office, 1103 S. Frio St.