San Antonio – John Courage and Patrick Von Dohlen will once again square off on Saturday in a runoff election for the District 9 council seat.
Courage, the two-term incumbent councilman, received 47.1% of the vote in the six-way May 1 election, while Von Dohlen received 35.7%. With neither of them taking a majority of the vote, the race is heading to a June 5 runoff election, along with four other council districts: 1, 2, 3, and 5.
The pair have competed for the seat two times already, in 2017 when Courage won his first term in a runoff against Marco Barros, and then in 2019 when Courage won outright.
After four years of leading the district, which encompasses the central portion of the North Side, Courage says he’s running on his record, particularly in regards to constituent services.
“I feel very confident that we’ve done a good job meeting the needs of people have expressed to us trying to look ahead and plan for positive things for the district,” Courage said.
Meanwhile, Von Dohlen thinks he can replicate Courage’s constituent services while being a conservative voice on what he thinks is currently an “ultra progressive” city council
“It’s time to get back to basics, get back to business and back SA blue. The efforts to defund the police are not going away,” Von Dohlen said.
Though he works as a financial planner, Von Dohlen is best known for his activism with the San Antonio Family Association, an anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion group. His campaign messaging has largely been about framing himself as the conservative option against Courage, whom he calls a “socialist” -- a label Courage strongly rejects.
Though Courage ran as a Democrat in previous bids for congress and the Texas state senate, he says he’s a “centrist” and that Von Dohlen is taking a non-partisan, local election and “trying to force it to be a race between Republicans and Democrats.”
“There isn’t a liberal or conservative way of filling a pothole,” Courage said. “You know, it just needs to be done. And you need to have somebody who’s working, who’s committed to get that done.”
Von Dohlen says that while local elections might technically be non-partisan, “the reality is, underlying that, it’s all very partisan.”
“All I’m trying to do in part of my campaign platform is that conservative values matter, that let people know that there are principles out there that can help run city government in a more efficient way. There are different ways to fix a pothole. There are more efficient ways to do so and make our government more efficient,” Von Dohlen said.
More people cast ballots in the District 9 race than in any other council race on May 1, and both candidates expect turnout to be key again.
Polls will be open Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m..