By Gaige Davila, Noah Alcala Bach and Ben Olivo
Mayor Ron Nirenberg emerged victorious Saturday night in a tight and hotly contested runoff race against District 6 Councilman Greg Brockhouse.
The outcomes of the other council races in the runoff—Districts 2, 4 and 6—meant the City Council for the first time in San Antonio’s history has a majority of women serving with six.
At The Friendly Spot, where Nirenberg was holding his election night viewing party, the crowd of a few hundred chanted “Two more years!” shortly after 9 p.m., when election results showed the mayor had a comfortable lead over Brockhouse with 97 percent of precincts reported. Brockhouse, speaking to supporters at his election party at Viola’s Ventanas, conceded shortly after the latest results came in.
With 100 percent of precincts reported, Nirenberg captured 51.1 percent of the vote (61,699 votes) to Brockhouse’s 48.9 percent (59,024 votes).
“I’m grateful for San Antonio residents for coming out to make sure their voice is heard, to make sure that we get the result they want, and they want progress,” Nirenberg said.
Earlier in the evening, Nirenberg, in an interview with the Heron, said he looks forward to continuing his work on policy, including the city’s anti-displacement strategy.
“We’re pushing the pedal to the metal,” Nirenberg said. “We’re going to go as fast as our collective will allow, and that’s the community. We answer to them.”
For Brockhouse, he took issue with what he called personal attacks from Nirenberg during the campaign.
“I called him on his record and how he was as a leader, but not on how he was as a father or a husband or any of that,” Brockhouse said. “He did. But if that’s what you have to do to win, it’s what you’ve got to do to win, it’s disappointing to me that it could be the difference maker.”
He also blamed what he described as “hit pieces” published in the San Antonio Express-News.
“A lot of things affect the ballot—turnout, the message,” Brockhouse said. “But, look, it’s media bias 100 percent … I can’t even count the number of attack pieces the Express-News ran on me and its character assassination.”
For Brockhouse, discussion around two domestic violence reports against his former and current wives, first reported by the San Antonio Express News, continued in the runoff campaign.
One of the reports, from 2009, documenting Brockhouse’s alleged assault against his current wife, Annalisa, is not in the public record. However, a copy was obtained by the San Antonio Express News. Brockhouse, in an interview with KLRN journalist Jim Forsyth, said the 2009 report was faked, saying there were inaccuracies about his appearance.
The other is report is from 2006, allegedly documenting a domestic violence incident between Brockhouse and his previous wife, which is in public record.
In District 2, Jada Andrews-Sullivan defeated former councilman Keith A. Toney with a total of 52.1 percent (3,275 votes) to 47.9 percent (3,007 votes), respectively. Andrews-Sullivan will replace Councilman Art Hall, who took over the East Side seat when he replaced local judge William “Cruz” Shaw in January.
“My team did it all, from our paid block walkers to our volunteers to our finance department,” Andrews-Sullivan said at her election night gathering at Tucker’s Kozy Korner.
When asked what issues she’ll get to work on when she’s sworn in, she said, “Crime. Infrastructure. Our property values, those taxes. Gentrification. Getting smart development that comes into the community. Having that open communication with our community, making sure they know who their councilwoman is. Making sure I go out and reach them at all costs.”
For the District 4 council seat, university professor Adriana Rocha Garcia won handily with 72.4 percent of the vote (4,261 votes) over Johnny Arredondo, who received 27.6 percent (1,622 votes). Garcia will replace outgoing Councilman Rey Saldaña, who is serving his fourth and final term.
In District 6, the city’s far west side, attorney Melissa Cabello Havrda won with 57 percent of the vote (6,641 votes) over CPA Andy Greene who had captured 44.4 percent (5,005 votes). She will replace Brockhouse.