Mayor Nirenberg claims third term after challenger Brockhouse concedes

Brockhouse concedes as Mayor Ron Nirenberg cruises to third term

Mayoral candidate Greg Brockhouse, who trailed to San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg by a large margin on Saturday after early votes were tallied, conceded in a statement on Saturday.
Mayoral candidate Greg Brockhouse, who trailed to San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg by a large margin on Saturday after early votes were tallied, conceded in a statement on Saturday.

Update 8:11 p.m. - Mayoral candidate Greg Brockhouse, who trailed to San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg by a large margin on Saturday after early votes were tallied, conceded in a statement on Saturday.

Nirenberg is poised to serve his third term as mayor.

According to the early vote returns, Brockhouse had 31% of the vote, while Nirenberg had 63% of the vote.

Brockhouse, who narrowly lost to Nirenberg in a 2019 runoff, congratulated the mayor and his wife Erika Prosper “as they continue their service to San Antonio.”

“I have always said you don’t need to be mayor to make a change in your community,” Brockhouse wrote in a statement. “You only have to care. We have cared and gave it our best shot.”

Nirenberg was pleased with the results so far, noting the high turnout in this citywide election.

“It’s very clear (civic engagement) is moving in the right direction in our city,” Nirenberg said.

While he was gratified by the early vote returns, Nirenberg knows that the next term won’t be easy.

“It starts with making sure we can put this pandemic behind us,” he said. “We need to make sure we have a robust and inclusive economic recovery.”

Update 7:55 p.m. - San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg jumped out to an early lead Saturday with 63% of the vote, according to early vote results.

Trailing behind is Greg Brockhouse with 31% of the vote.

So far, the results have consisted of early and absentee votes.

Nirenberg was pleased with the results so far, noting the high turnout in this citywide election.

“It’s very clear (civic engagement) is moving in the right direction in our city,” Nirenberg said.

While he was gratified by the early vote returns, Nirenberg knows that the next term won’t be easy.

“It starts with making sure we can put this pandemic behind us,” he said. “We need to make sure we have a robust and inclusive economic recovery.”

If the mayor can maintain his advantage as more votes are tabulated, he would avoid a runoff and win the mayoral race outright.

To force a runoff, Brockhouse would need to win roughly 88% of the election day votes.

Update 7 p.m. - Voters were not deterred by Saturday’s heavy rainfall, as thousands braved the torrential downpours to cast their ballot in the San Antonio mayoral race.

The polls closed at 7 p.m. and early voting results are expected to be released shortly. More than 45,000 voters cast a ballot on Saturday, according to the Bexar County Elections Department.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg will be hoping to avoid a runoff by winning more than 50% of the vote.

But the race is chocked full of challengers, including Greg Brockhouse, who narrowly lost to Nirenberg in a 2019 runoff.

BACKGROUND

Throughout the 2021 mayoral campaign, incumbent Ron Nirenberg has maintained a massive fundraising advantage over the opposing candidates.

But with 13 other candidates running for mayor, it remains to be seen whether that advantage is enough to propel him to victory on May 1, when he would need more than 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff election. If Nirenberg does not get more than a majority, he’d face off with the candidate who secured the second-most votes in a head-to-head race on June 5.

RELATED: Mayoral candidates answer your questions ahead of San Antonio’s May 1 election

Over the past month, from March 23 to April 21, Nirenberg brought in more than $218,000 in political contributions, according to the latest round of campaign finance reports. The cash flow has allowed Nirenberg to spend more than $360,000 on the race.

In comparison, mayoral candidate Greg Brockhouse reported $13,770 in political contributions, the second most of all mayoral candidates.

Brockhouse, who forced Nirenberg into a runoff in 2019 and lost by a two-point margin, appears to be Nirenberg’s largest threat.

The race might largely depend on how the voters feel about Nirenberg’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. In a recent Bexar Facts-KSAT-San Antonio Report poll, 67% of the voters surveyed approved of the job Nirenberg has been doing. That same poll had Nirenberg leading Brockhouse 56-21 among likely San Antonio voters.

After the contentious 2019 campaign against Brockhouse, Nirenberg has repeatedly refused to appear in debates against Brockhouse.

“I think we need to elevate civic dialogue as opposed to the kind of mudfighting we would see in a debate,” Nirenberg said during an appearance on KSAT 12 News.

The mayor has instead opted to participate in forums, where he can get his message out without any crosstalk.

That approach has irked Brockhouse, who could benefit from having a platform with Nirenberg to make his case to voters.

“It’s unfortunate that he’s doing a disservice and disrespecting the voters in this manner,” Brockhouse said during his mayoral forum.

Another consequential issue Nirenberg is straying away from is Proposition B, which would strip the collective bargaining rights of San Antonio police officers. Citing the ongoing contract negotiations between the city and the San Antonio Police Officers Association, Nirenberg said he does not think it’s appropriate to take a stance on the contentious issue.

“If the voters change the rules by which we can establish our disciplinary process, then we’ll go with that,” Nirenberg previously said. “But right now, we’re going with the rules that are established.”

That has drawn sharp criticism from many of his opponents, who have come out against Proposition B.

“This is a critical and monumental decision whichever way you look at it on the future of San Antonio ... Ron Nirenberg is refusing to take a position. So he’s abdicating a leadership role and making a call on where he stands. Citizens want leadership,” Brockhouse said.

More than 100,000 voters cast ballots during the early voting period but now all eyes are on Election Day May 1.

Check back in this article as the race develops for updated vote counts. Get immediate updates by signing up for our free elections newsletter.

Read more:

Proposition B in San Antonio is the most contentious issue facing voters in May 1 election

What you missed in San Antonio mayoral forum featuring Ron Nirenberg, Greg Brockhouse, Denise Gutierrez-Homer

Bexar Facts poll: Mayor Ron Nirenberg leads challenger Greg Brockhouse 56-21 among likely San Antonio voters

5 races to watch in San Antonio’s May 1 election


About the Author:

Fares Sabawi has been a journalist in San Antonio for four years. He has covered several topics, but specializes in crime, courts, open records and data visualization.