The last two
Today San Antonians in two council districts will complete the biennial process of selecting those that represent them at the city level. It’s Election Day for races in District 1 and 7. In District 1 the final two candidates are Diego Bernal and Ralph Medina and in District 7 the runoff is between Cris Medina and Elena Guajardo. Based on early voting totals it looks like we’re going to be seeing a trend of around 70% of General Election voters participating in the runoff. While that may sound reasonable remember that only 7% of registered voters actually voted in the General Election. So I highly encourage you to vote at your polling place if you haven’t already. Just please vote!
Let’s take a quick look at District 7 where you have Cris Medina, former chief of staff to Justin Rodriguez, running against Elena Guajardo, former council member for the district. Medina missed having to skip the runoff by only 107 votes and hasn’t really had any issues haunting him to drive voters to Guajardo. Dr. Gloria Rodriguez, the other strong challenger who missed facing Medina by 14 votes, chose not to take sides in the runoff, leaving Guajardo having to fight hard to overcome a 28 point deficit.
Based on those factors and the fact that most voters will realize Guajardo is a one-term candidate, most will probably vote for Medina, giving him the victory. I just don’t see it in the cards for Guajardo. I’ve already put my prediction forward on the race, predicting Medina to win by 10-12 points.
In District 1 the race has been much more interesting. Diego Bernal has run a very effective campaign against Ralph Medina, carrying his ground game from the General Election into the runoff. He ramped up his campaign effort, hiring on Politico LLC as his strategist to help close the deal, most likely focusing on precincts he might have been weak in. Picking up the endorsements of both Carolyn Kelley and Chris Forbrich, two of his challengers in the General, helps lock in some votes without having to exert any efforts for them. In my analysis of the race, Bernal and Kelley were the only two candidates to secure victories in precincts with voter turnout more than one standard deviation above the average.
In terms of campaign propaganda, Medina seemed to hit the low road by calling Bernal a “wannabe” in a mailer funded by one of the first responder unions. I’m not sure if that was the union’s call, Medina’s call, or one by Jo Ann Ramon, the campaign strategist he hired to help him in the runoff. Regardless, it was a bad call in my opinion and drug the race into mudslinging territory. I have since dropped my support for Medina as a result of it. I don’t look kindly to that kind of campaigning, especially when the race has been pretty civil to this point.
That mailer turned other former Medina voters to Bernal and may have been the straw that broke the back of any chance Medina might have had in overcoming the deficit. Based on Bernal’s strong ground game, endorsements from two of his challengers, and the mailer I’m predicting Bernal to win the election by 15-17 points. I could be way off on that prediction but with low turnout, I don’t think Bernal can claim more than that in terms of margin.
Regardless of how this turns out, we’ll finally have the council dais set on June 17th and ready to tackle some pretty tough issues, most importantly the 2012 bond election. So please get out to vote if you haven’t already. It’s a great day to vote and you can get it in before you head out to the Texas Folklife Festival.