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San Antonio City Council braces for competitive races as filing window opens

All 10 City Council districts and the Mayor’s Office are up for election in May, but some races are drawing more attention from competitors.

SAN ANTONIO — Wednesday was filing day at San Antonio City Hall. For some hopeful candidates, it’s a day of celebration beyond the procedure of applying to run for office.

On Wednesday evening, the city clerk's office reported 14 applications have been filed in the first day of ballot applications.

Races in Districts 1, 7 and 10 are likely to draw more attention than other races, but all candidates are focused with a four-month election period down the stretch.

Incumbents that filed or intend for re-election include District 9’s John Courage, Manny Pelaez for District 8, Melissa Cabello Havrda for District 6, Teri Castillo for District 5, Dr. Adriana Rocha Garcia for District 4, Phyllis Viagran for District 3, Jalen McKee-Rodriguez for District 2 and Mario Bravo for District 1. Mayor Ron Nirenberg will also seek a fourth term in office.

KENS 5 focuses on a few races including D1, D7, and D10 below.

District 1

Councilman Mario Bravo is gearing up for a re-election campaign. The first-term councilman announced its strongest fundraising report ever this week, but he is facing competition with large support.

Educator Dr. Sukh Kaur has declared her intention to run for office and so has businessman Jeremy Roberts, among other candidates.

Bravo faces a tough battle after he was censured and given a no-confidence vote after a verbal confrontation with City Councilwoman Ana Sandoval over a budget item that led to an investigation by an outside attorney.

When asked about the no-confidence vote, Bravo told KENS 5 over the phone that his constituents are focused on issues facing the community.

District 2

One of San Antonio’s most progressive council members Jalen McKee-Rodriguez filed to seek a second term in office. It’s something that he says hasn’t been done in 10 years.

“That’s something that’s been a detriment to my community. I think that once that time comes if we get a councilperson for more than one term, that’s when we see power start to amass in our district and more opportunity for change,” McKee-Rodriguez told KENS 5.

Carla Walker, a resident of the East Side says she wants to address what she believes are issues with low employment rates and lack of access to healthcare facilities.

“I think the residents deserve better and we need someone to be a voice for us to help us get some of the things that are important to us in our daily lives,” Walker told KENS 5 on Wednesday.

McKee-Rodriguez has pushed for policies such as an insulin-cost share program and brought to light issues such as police accountability and housing inequity.

“Our community and my district only benefits from having someone who shows up every day for work prepared like a teacher does, who shows up having researched and knows the hundreds of items they are going to vote on and is prepared to do all of that,” he told KENS 5.

Another candidate for the D2 seat includes Patrick Jones, President of the Baptist Ministers Union in San Antonio.

District 7

Councilwoman Ana Sandoval announced she would step down from her seat this week, creating some uncertainty who would occupy the office.

Marina Alderete Gavito, executive director of digital inclusion group SA Digital Connects filed for the candidacy on Wednesday. She did not however apply for the interim vacancy.

“Being a public servant has always been a passion of mine, with it being an open seat I decided this is the time to do so,” Gavito told KENS 5.

Its unclear whether the seat will be left vacant prior to the election on May 6. Political matriarch Josie Castro announced on Facebook she would temporarily fill the vacancy and would not seek re-election.

Dan Rossiter announced his candidacy for the vacant seat on Facebook following Sandoval’s announcement.

“I look forward to continued conversations with community leaders across this district over the coming weeks,” Rossiter wrote in a Facebook post.

District 10

District 10 Councilman Clayton Perry recently returned from a two-month leave of absence following a DWI-charge in connection to a hit-and-run crash back in November.

The councilman has not told reporters if he plans to re-run for a fourth and final term. Calls to Perry were not returned on Wednesday.

Jon Taylor, chair of the Political Science department at UT San Antonio has called the recent developments in city council fascinating, but traditionally the local races don’t generate high turnout.

“It’s all about the ground game because so few people turn out to vote, this isn’t an indictment of local politics, this is an indictment of Texas and local politics in general,” Taylor said.

The filing deadline to run for City Council closes on February 17 at 5:00 pm.

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