SAN ANTONIO – With less than a month before the May 1 election, a KSAT analysis of campaign finance records shows that the incumbents running for reelection, including the mayor and San Antonio’s City Council members, have more funds at their disposal than their challengers.
With several crowded races on the ballot — more than 80 candidates are running for 11 seats — and hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions and expenditures, some of the races might be too close to call on election night and could be headed to overtime in the form of a runoff election.
The incumbents hope the cash advantage will help separate them from the pack enough to avoid a runoff, which requires one candidate to get more than 50% of the vote.
If no candidate clears a majority, then the top two vote-getting candidates in that race will move to a heads-up runoff election on June 5.
That’s the goal for the bevy of less-funded challengers: get past the first round of voting and into a one-on-one battle, where opponents may coalesce against an officeholder.
The data below shows which challengers may be in the best financial position to mount the most serious challenge.
San Antonio Mayor
In the mayoral race, Mayor Ron Nirenberg has a firm fundraising advantage over his challengers. Records show that Nirenberg has raised $317,620 and outspent opponents, racking up $197,224 in political expenditures.
Greg Brockhouse, the former council member who challenged Nirenberg in 2019 and narrowly lost in a runoff, stands out as another viable candidate, raising $100,755, according to his campaign finance report. He has spent $68,011.
Though Nirenberg’s war chest is relatively flush with cash, the race mayoral race features 14 candidates. Still, Nirenberg’s approval ratings and his poll numbers suggest he’s comfortably in the lead.
City council - District 1
In District 1, Councilman Roberto Trevino has raised $27,976 and spent $46,444 defending his seat.
Though Mario Bravo, a former county commissioner candidate, raised less money than Trevino with $22,089, he reported a total cash-on-hand balance of $34,099, meaning he has money to spend in the last month of the race. Bravo’s fundraising isn’t rivaled by any of the other challengers.
Trevino has so far outspent Bravo, but has less cash on-hand, reporting $20,331 in the bank, records showed.
City council - District 2
In District 2, councilwoman Jada Andrews-Sullivan raised the most money in the race, bringing in $21,125, the reports showed.
But two of her opponents are not far behind her. Jalen McKee Rodriguez, who has outspent all other candidates in the council race, has brought in $17,497. Kristin Villanueva ranked third in fundraising, reporting $16,575 in political contributions.
The competitive district may end up in another runoff, as it did in 2019.
City council - District 3
After serving for four full terms, councilwoman Rebecca Viagran cannot seek another run in this office per city law, meaning that District 3 will have a new representative in May.
Her younger sister, Phyllis Viagran, hopes to continue the family’s legacy by running for the seat. She led the way in fundraising, bringing in $15,655, according to her finance report.
Architect Mario Martinez had a good fundraising quarter as well, reporting $11,810. Another familiar name on the ballot includes Tomas Uresti, who previously served as the state representative for District 118.
City council - District 4
In District 4, councilwoman Adriana Rocha Garcia holds a firm fundraising advantage over her opponents. She reported raising $7,655.
The only other candidate who submitted a report in the race included David Tristan, who has raised $725 in the race.
City council - District 5
District 5 is another open seat up for grabs after Shirley Gonzales finishes her final term in office. The crowded race includes 11 candidates.
Norberto Geremy Landin, who is the vice president of operations for STAAMP Allergy, has brought in $15,479. Terri Castillo, a housing organizer, trailed closely behind with $13,979 raised.
City council - District 6
Councilwoman Melissa Cabello Havrda has the edge in race for District 6.
According to campaign finance records, she has raised $10,063 and spent more than $8,300 in the race.
Irina Rudolph, a business owner, trailed behind, raising $4,251.
City council - District 7
Councilwoman Ana Sandoval posted impressive fundraising figures, reporting a total of $26,758 raised in the race.
She’s also outspent her opponents significantly, the figures showed, putting down $27,818 in the race so far.
City council - District 8
Councilman Manny Pelaez is hoping to represent District 8 again with fundraising figures far larger than his opponents.
So far, he has raised $30,500 in political contributions, according to his report.
The only other candidate who brought in thousands is Roberto Rodriguez, who reported raising $5,000 in political contributions.
City council - District 9
In District 9, Councilman John Courage has kept his opponents at arms length, raising $33,212, according to his finance report.
But his opponents have spent more money than him so far in the race.
Erika Moe, who raised $23,495, has spent $38,982. Patrick Van Dohlen has also spent $32,425. In comparison, Courage has only spent $31,548.
City council - District 10
Councilman Clayton Perry kept his war chest full, reporting $40,550 in political contributions.
Though he is comfortably ahead in political contributions, Ezra Johnson has also had a good showing, bringing in $19,605 in political contributions.