PHOTO: The four leading contenders for San Antonio mayor (clockwise from upper left): Ivy Taylor, Mike Villarreal, Leticia Van de Putte and Tommy Adkisson. Taylor, the incumbent, and Van de Putte, a former state senator, face each other in a June 13 runoff.
by PATRICK SVITEK
SAN ANTONIO — Former State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte is set to face San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor in a runoff for the city’s top job.
With 95 percent of all precincts reporting late Saturday, Van de Putte led Taylor 31 percent to 28 percent, according to unofficial returns. Former state Rep. Mike Villarreal trailed in third at 26 percent, and former Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson in fourth at 10 percent.
With 14 declared candidates — four considered runoff prospects — the chance of an outright victory seemed slim Saturday. The runoff is scheduled for June 13, with early voting taking place from June 1-9.
“Our work’s not over, because what this means is we’re doing to work even harder to convince those who may not have cast a ballot to trust Leticia, to believe in her vision in this city,” Van de Putte said shortly after 10 p.m., surrounded by her family as confetti lingered in the air at her campaign headquarters on San Antonio’s West Side.
As results came in, Taylor told supporters at her election night party she was ready for a runoff.
“We can’t rest on our laurels because we’ve got some work to do to get to June 13,” she said, shortly after Adkisson and Villarreal conceded.
The four major candidates were seen as Democrats, though the election was nonpartisan. It was the first step in determining who would permanently replace Julián Castro, who resigned as mayor last year to become President Obama’s secretary of housing and urban development.
The results mark a reversal of fortune for Van de Putte, who just months ago was trounced in the lieutenant governor’s race by Republican Dan Patrick. Talking to reporters late Saturday, she said speaking with voters across the state last year drew her even closer to San Antonio.
“It gave me a greater appreciation of my own hometown,” Van de Putte said. “You never know what life has in store for you, what God’s plans are for you, but I know I’m so thrilled — I’m grateful — to be here at this particular moment.”
Van de Putte also offered a preview of her runoff argument against Taylor, saying there is a “stark difference in leadership — the ability to really tackle the tough problems.” Van de Putte acknowledged she does not have the same experience in municipal government that Taylor has, but she said she cited her time at the Capitol as proof she can nonetheless bring people together and find solutions to big problems.
Both Van de Putte and Taylor had initially denied interest in the race. While campaigning last year for lieutenant governor, Van de Putte swore she was not laying the groundwork for a mayoral bid. And Taylor won the interim job partly by assuring her city council colleagues she would not seek a full term this year.
But both ended up entering the race, significantly narrowing Villarreal’s path to victory. He declared his candidacy in May of last year — shortly after Castro left office — and Villarreal quit the House in November to focus full-time on his campaign.
The San Antonio mayoral race was the marquee contest among many municipal elections across the state Saturday.
Elsewhere in the state, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings was projected to easily win a second term. He led long-shot challenger Marcos Ronquillo, a lawyer, by more than 46 points with nearly all precincts reporting, according to unofficial returns.
PATRICK SVITEK reports for The Texas Tribune where this story was originally published. It is made available here through a news partnership between the Texas Tribune and the San Marcos Mercury.Email | Print