The slate of candidates for San Antonio mayor and the city’s 10 council seats on the May 1 ballot is set.
After Friday’s deadline for filing, city records showed 81 people are running for a spot on the City Council in a race defined by the human and economic toll inflicted on the city by COVID-19 as well as a reckoning over the power of the San Antonio Police union in the wake of a public demand for law enforcement reform.SPONSORED
The main event is the rematch between incumbent Ron Nirenberg and former City Councilman Greg Brockhouse, who fought the mayor to a runoff two years ago and nearly ousted him.
Attention also will be focused on several highly competitive council races, including the open seats in District 3 and District 5 — soon to be vacated by council veterans Rebecca Viagran and Shirley Gonzales, who have hit their term limits.
The race for District 2 on the city’s East Side has attracted nine people eager for a shot to dethrone first-term Councilwoman Jada Andrews-Sullivan. One is a former staffer of hers who already has blown past his one-time boss in campaign fundraising.
Here’s a breakdown of candidates in each race. Ages and occupations are listed for those that were available on the filing documents.
Nirenberg is vying for a third term amid high marks for his response to the pandemic and after notching his most decisive electoral victory to date: the November passage of a $154 million sales tax plan aimed at helping tens of thousands of residents get job training and college degrees in order to land higher-paying jobs.
But Brockhouse once again sees vulnerability in the mayor — blasting Nirenberg for focusing too much on long-term goals instead of immediate recovery efforts. He’s also betting on a wave of pro-police voters to turn out in force to oppose a ballot measure to repeal the police union’s collective bargaining rights to help him cross the finish line.
Nirenberg and Brockhouse aren’t alone in the race; 12 other candidates also have filed for mayor.
Ray Basaldua, 48, roofer
Frank Adam Muñiz, attorney
Tim Atwood, 67, teacher
Denise Gutierrez-Homer, businesswoman
Gary Allen, retired teacher
J.L. Miller, military
Michael “Commander” Idrogo, 60, veteran U.S. Navy commander
Antonio “Tony” Diaz, retail
Dan Martinez, retired
Justin Macaluso, director of quality and manufacturing
Joshua James Galvan, self-employed
John M. Velasquez, psychologist
Councilman Roberto Treviño has held his downtown seat since 2014, when Diego Bernal left to run for the Texas House. Treviño faces a field of five other candidates as he seeks his final council term — including environmentalist Mario Bravo, who says his candidacy is less about dissatisfaction with Treviño’s job performance than it is about pushing for structural change at City Hall.
During the pandemic, Treviño has positioned himself as an often-lonely progressive agitator on the council pushing city leaders to pony up more dollars to help residents struggling to stay in their homes and small businesses trying to keep their lights on — something his detractors say the city has been doing anyway.
He was one of two council members to oppose the mayor’s workforce development plan.
In addition to Treviño and Bravo, the other candidates in the race are retiree Raymond Zavala, environmental consultant Matthew J. Gauna, attorney Lauro A. Bustamante and financial professional Cyndi Dóminguez.
Seeking another two years in her East Side seat, Andrews-Sullivan faces 11 other candidates — including her former communications director, 25-year-old Jalen McKee-Rodriguez, a math teacher at James Madison High School.
Also on the ballot are Black Lives Matter organizer Pharaoh Clark, 33; Kristi Villanueva, 48, president of the West San Antonio Chamber of Commerce; Dori Brown, a 51-year-old former aide to the late state Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon; community activist and business owner Nneka Cleaver, 46; and and five other candidates.
Other candidates include:
Walter Perry Sr., tax preparer
Andrew Fernandez Vicencio, retired from the U.S. Army
Carl Booker, publisher
Norris Tyrone Darden, educator
Chris Dawkins, business owner
Michael John Good, construction and logistics
This open seat, soon to be vacated by Councilwoman Viagran, who has termed out, has drawn 12 candidates to represent the Southeast Side, one of the areas of town hit hardest by the pandemic. Despite the many candidates, the race so far is looking like a showdown between a possible new South Side political dynasty and one seeking redemption.
Phyllis Viagran, 48, is vying to replace her sister. Meanwhile, the Uresti dynasty is attempting another comeback as former state Rep. Tomas Uresti, brother of imprisoned former state Sen. Carlos Uresti, takes a shot at the seat.
The other 10 candidates are:
Angela Cardona, executive assistant and community relations
Marcello Martinez, architect
Stephen “Steve” Valdez, communications
Rafael C. Vela
Ted Gonzalez, sales manager
Mark Arthur Vargas Jr.
Diana Flores Uriegas
Rodolfo “Rudy” Lopez, self-employed
Walter Murray, advertising business owner
Adriana Rocha Garcia, the first woman to represent this Southwest Side district and a key ally on Nirenberg’s Ready to Work initiative, is seeking a second term.
The assistant professor of marketing for Our Lady of the Lake University faces mathematician Raymond Guzman, business owner David Tristan and Curtis Mueller, who works in information technology.
It’s open season for the West Side seat as Councilwoman Gonzales also has reached the limit of terms she can serve. Eleven candidates are running to represent the district — another area hit hard by the pandemic.
Among the hopefuls are Jason Mata, 48, who sits on boards for various nonprofits; housing activist Teri Castillo of the Historic Westside Residents Association; and Norberto “Geremy” Landin, vice president of operations and business development for San Antonio South Texas Allergy and Asthma Medical Professionals.
Other candidates include: Irma G. Barron, self employed; Marie Crabb, 34, realtor; Ricardo Moreno, 35, assistant principal; Anthony Gres, business owner; attorney David Yañez; and retirees Ray Garza, Jesse J. Alaniz and Rudy Lopez.
Councilwoman Melissa Cabello Havrda, 46, who chairs the council’s Public Safety committee, faces four challengers as she seeks a second term for the Far West Side seat: Robert Walker, the owner of Papa’s Burgers; business owner Irina Rudolph; accountant and adjunct lecturer Chris Baecker and housing liaison Robert Hernandez.
As the councilwoman for this West Side district since 2017, incumbent Ana E. Sandoval has one competitor this election: Patricia Ann Varela, who is retired from the U.S. Army.
Councilman Manny Peláez — the council’s self-styled voice of reason without a filter — is running for a third term in his Northwest Side district. He’s facing self-employed Cesario Garcia, real estate broker Rob Rodriguez, pricing specialist Suzanne McCarty and registered nurse Tammy K. Orta.
Once a perennial Democratic candidate, Councilman John Courage, 69, has represented the traditionally conservative North Side district for two terms. He faces four candidates in his bid to hold the seat for another two years — among his challengers are two conservatives: Patrick Von Dohlen, the president of a financial group; and attorney Erika Moe, who is backed by a high-powered GOP consulting firm in Austin.
The other challengers are business operations specialist Cory Dennington, 29, and college student Antonio Salinas, 18.
Nirenberg and Brockhouse aren’t the only ones in a rematch on the May ballot.
Clayton Perry, the council’s lone conservative, will once again face Ezra Johnson, vice chair of VIA Metropolitan Transit. Perry and Johnson vied for the open seat back in 2017, with Perry emerging victorious in a runoff.
The race will test whether Perry — who is tight with neighborhood groups in his Northeast Side district — is still in line with voters. The district broke for President Joe Biden in November as well as a trio of ballot initiatives Perry opposed.
A bright spot for Perry: a majority of voters in his district went for downballot Republicans.
The other challengers are 32-year-old educator Alexander Svehla, Emily Norwood and U.S. Army officer Gabrien Gregory.
The last day to register to vote for the May 1 election is April 1. Early voting begins April 19 and ends April 27.