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Endorsements could be positive for one voter, negative for next in mayoral race

St. Mary's University professor weighs in on mayoral runoff

SAN ANTONIO – Despite a long list of heavyweight supporters for both candidates in the mayoral runoff, each voter’s perspective will be their own, said Dr. Arturo Vega, chairman of the St. Mary’s University political science department.

“San Antonio has a long history of ethnic polarized voting, and you can always use that as an indicator of how things are going to break out,” Vega said. “Except this time, we don’t have those sort of cues or markers.”

In the May 6 city election, incumbent Ivy Taylor got 42 percent of the vote, while her challenger, District 8 City Councilman Ron Nirenberg, got 37 percent.

Both campaigns are now strategizing to come out on top in the June 10 runoff election.

"One strategy would be to pick up all the small turnout precincts on the West Side and the South Side and hope that’s enough to pull you over,” Vega said. “The other strategy would be to go toward the larger turnout precincts, and I think that’s where the race is going to really be.”

A former mayor and political heavyweight, Julian Castro, has endorsed Nirenberg.

Big time community donors, such as Harvey Najim and Gordon Hartman, will be part of a fundraiser Nirenberg is having this week.

Taylor, meanwhile, has the support of longtime Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, former Spurs chairman Peter Holt and famed local car dealer Ernesto Ancira.

Vega believes the runoff could become a “campaign of endorsements,” noting that “the cue for one kind of voter could be the opposite for another kind of voter.”

While the third-place finisher, Bexar County Chairman Manuel Medina, is out of the race, his supporters are still part of the equation.

"You may not need his endorsement, but you do need his voters,” Vega said.

Early voting for the runoff election is allowed May 30 through June 6. 

"The future of the city really rests on who the next mayor will be,” Vega said.

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