San Antonio citizens will have another opportunity to determine the result of their controversial mayoral election, as the top two candidates are now headed to a runoff.
Saturday’s contest for mayor ended with a question mark, as Mayor Ron Nirenberg was unable to edge out his foremost challenger and current City Council Member Greg Brockhouse. Nirenberg collected 49 percent of the vote, just shy of the 50 percent needed to win, while Brockhouse secured 46 percent. Since neither gathered an outright majority, the two will face off again on June 8.
Nirenberg, who was elected mayor in 2017, has recently been tangled in controversy after he voted to ban Chick-fil-A from the San Antonio International Airport solely because of the owner’s beliefs on marriage. The popular chicken eatery was originally one of the restaurants set to be included by the airport’s retail contractor, but the council filed an amendment to kick them out.
After the decision drew nationwide backlash, including the opening of an investigation by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Nirenberg tried to backpedal his rationale for discriminating against the company. The mayor claimed he banned Chick-fil-A because they are not open on Sundays, despite the fact that Chick-fil-A was rated “Best Franchise Brand” in 2018 by Airport Review News.
Brockhouse called for a revote of the ban soon after the council’s decision, but Nirenberg used his tie-breaking vote to yet again block Chick-fil-A from the airport.
The ban became the most controversial issue of the mayoral race, and is one that Nirenberg has tried to get away from.
“How much oxygen is this going to take up?” Nirenberg asked recently, dismissively referring to the issue as the “fast food subcontract.”
Not only has Nirenberg voted to ban organizations he disagrees with, but he has also voted to take more money from citizens—choosing to increase taxes ever since taking office on the city council in 2013. The average San Antonio homeowner is now paying the city roughly $400 more per year than they did just four years ago.
On the other hand, Brockhouse, a newcomer to the city council, has voted against tax increases and stated on his campaign site that “a family needs to keep more of their money. City Hall needs to do more with the money they already have and learn to give some of it back by reducing property taxes and fees.”
It’s up to San Antonio voters on June 8 whether they will allow Nirenberg to continue discriminating and taking more of their hard-earned cash, or choose a different path for their city and their wallets.