Multiple candidates crowding field for mayor, state senate

Old faces vying for new positions of power

SAN ANTONIO – Local lawmakers are playing a political game of musical chairs.

Less than 24 hours after State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte's announcement that she would step down to run for Mayor of San Antonio, State Representative José Menéndez, D-Dist. 124, said he would run for her post.

Menéndez praised Van de Putte as a "trailblazer" who "fought for what was right for San Antonio. It didn't matter if it was a Republican idea or a Democratic idea, she had her eye on the future potential of this great city."

Menéndez said he worked with Van de Putte on veteran's issues -- including an expansion of the mental health services program.

"I look forward to fulfilling her legacy of delivering a world class education for our students, protecting San Antonio families, creating high paying jobs and honoring our Veterans. If we invest in our future, I know our best Texas days are ahead of us," Menéndez said.

Also vying for Van de Putte's former seat is Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer.

"I don't back down from a fight, and I will certainly be the spark for my community and I will bring a very critical and necessary voice to the state senate to make sure that everyone's voices are heard and that we're all respected," Martinez Fischer said.

Van de Putte announced first on KSAT-12 Wednesday that she would leave the Legislature to get in the race for mayor. She submitted a letter of intent to resign from her senate seat to Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday.

In the letter, Van de Putte writes: "As the constitution requires me to continue to perform the duties of my office until my successor is duly qualified please know i fully intend to follow through with this requirement and represent the people of District 26."

State Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-Dist. 123, announced his intention to run for mayor earlier this month.

"I'm on a mission to make San Antonio strong," said Villarreal. "We are experiencing incredible population growth. We need to prepare for that now. We're behind. We need to focus on infrastructure and strengthening our economy."

Villarreal's stint as the only candidate in the race was short-lived. Since his announcement, Paul Martinez, a San Antonio native and military veteran, has joined the race.

Martinez said he is an Independent who wants to take the partisanship out of City Hall.

"I decided that it was time that the people truly had a voice, and so that's why I'm running," Martinez said. "I'm not a Democrat. I'm not a Republican. I'm an Independent who swore an oath to  support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the people it governs. I want to be the voice of the people and not  a political party."

Villarreal's resignation opened the door for former San Antonio District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal to run for Villarreal's seat.

Bernal resigned from council to run for the Texas House. The city started taking applications to fill the District 1 vacancy Thursday. That process ends Dec. 5.