July 25, 2008
The next Mayor of San Antonio

Before Houston elects a new Mayor next November, San Antonio will do the same in May. Ken Rodriguez takes a look at what is shaping up to be a historic race.

"So," my friend wanted to know, "what do you think of the mayor's race?"

Could be historic, I said: "Right now we've got an all-Latino field. That's never happened before."

"Never?" my friend asked in disbelief.

"Not in modern times," I replied.

Though no one has officially announced, we've got three Hispanics raising money to succeed Phil Hardberger: Julián Castro. Diane Cibrian. Fernando Reyes.

Think about that. In modern San Antonio history, only two Latinos have served as mayor -- Henry Cisneros and Ed Garza -- but no current Anglo powerbroker has filed a campaign finance report to signify a run.

Cisneros, of course, served in the 80s. He was Mayor while I was in college. Garza was the predecessor to current Mayor Phil Hardberger.

Gordon Hartman would be viable. A philanthropist and former homebuilder, he's got name ID, writes big checks to local charities and has weighed an '09 run since at least '05.

But he's a North Side mystery. He hasn't filed a campaign finance report. And he couldn't be reached for comment regarding his mayoral intentions.

If Hartman were to run, he could be a minority candidate. The lone Anglo in a field of Latinos.


The city may have turned a historic corner. One Anglo pillar in the business community puts it this way: "I think the perception is you are not going to have another Anglo mayor in San Antonio for a long, long time."

The observation is based partly on the city's growing Hispanic majority and partly on the shrinking power of the Anglo business community.

It's an interesting contrast to Houston, where the three known Mayoral candidates so far are all Anglo. Everyone agrees that at least one non-white candidate will jump in at some point, but it's not clear who they might be.

As for San Antonio, Castro is probably the frontrunner. He lost in a runoff to Hardberger in 2005, and as Rodriguez notes, he's been running pretty much continuously since then. He was perceived as more style than substance back then, so I daresay he'll work to address that this time around. Having open seat Mayoral races in two of the big cities here is going to make next year very interesting. Link via BOR.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 25, 2008 to Election 2009
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