By Gaige Davila & Noah Alcala Bach
Mud will fly five more weeks.
For the entire night on Saturday, Mayor Ron Nirenberg held a slim lead over District 6 Councilman Greg Brockhouse, but never reached the 50 percent vote total threshold that would have given him an outright victory. As a result, the contentious race for mayor will continue toward a June 8 runoff.
By early Sunday morning, with 559 of 562 precincts reported, Nirenberg had earned 48.6 percent of the vote (49,297 votes), while Brockhouse captured 45.5 percent (46,129 votes).
The campaign’s “focus will be the difference between the candidates,” Nirenberg said while attending his election night gathering at Augie’s BBQ downtown. “The voting public will see very clear differences between us … My opponent is bought and paid for by the special interest unions. My opponent has no articulated vision for the future.”
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Brockhouse, who held his election viewing party at restaurant Viola’s Ventanas on the far West Side, didn’t pull any punches in addressing his opponent.
“The majority of San Antonio has rejected Ron Nirenberg,” Brockhouse said. “They’re looking for something different. I just have to make the argument now that that difference is me when I stand side by side with Ron Nirenberg.”
For more than three months, Nirenberg and Brockhouse have jousted verbally over a range of issues, including transportation, property tax relief, and the council’s decision to not bid for the Republican National Convention. In recent weeks, the council’s decision to exclude national chicken sandwich chain Chick-fil-A from a concessions contract at the San Antonio International Airport has dominated, seemingly, all races.
All signs points to continued mud-slinging. Some of them came to light Saturday night.
“That’s what we face here: a long con artist against a better man,” Nirenberg’s wife, Erika Prosper, an H-E-B executive, told the mayor’s supporters.
Brockhouse heard about the jab and responded while talking to the media, “I’m talking about ideas. I’m talking about neighborhoods, family, faith. They can go there. I’m going to stick to what matters most.”
Nirenberg’s re-election campaign focused on improving transportation through the ConnectSA plan, increasing affordable housing as outlined in a Mayor’s Housing Policy Task Force report published last August, and advancing a still-delayed climate action plan.
Brockhouse ran on keeping the city “focused on the basics of city government,” he said in a Vote411 voter guide. He wants to increase funding to VIA Metropolitan Transit, and lower property taxes.
The two candidates have also been inundated by their interactions with the city’s police and fire unions.
Another issue in the race has been domestic violence allegations that were made against Brockhouse—once, in 2006, from from his first wife; and another time in 2009, from his current wife, Annalisa—which were first reported by the San Antonio Express News in March.