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!
Yesterday I got a FB comment from a friend dismayed at a mailer he had received from Diego Bernal that had been paid for by SEIU COPE, the national PAC for the SEIU union, a union for service employees that has been growing nationally. While it may shock a few, it’s really no secret that SEIU has backed Bernal, providing volunteers for block walking and fundraising. Many had thought that Ralph Medina was the only one in bed with organized labor but Bernal is just as much in the thick of the matter. Both stated at a candidate forum they support the right for labor to organize. But this really starts to prompt the question of who else are the candidates beholding to. You can tell a lot by their campaign finance reports.
I finally have had a chance to take a look at the two council races that are in a runoff after San Antonio’s municipal general election. Most everyone knew that District 1 and District 7 would end up in a runoff with such a crowded field and several good candidates in the field. What surprised some though, was how close Cris Medina was to pulling off a victory and how Diego Bernal vaulted a very talented field to end up in first place facing Ralph Medina in a run0ff. I’ve already written how I think both races will end up based on election results and past history. However, I did decide to take the time and break down the races once the canvassed votes were posted. Read more…
Tonight was the District 1 candidate forum for runoff candidates, Diego Bernal and Ralph Medina, held at Mark Twain Middle School. Mark Twain was the site of the last candidate forum prior to the election, held by a coalition of 11 neighborhood associations. The crowd tonight was about 60% of the last forum which is what I predict turnout for the runoff to be on June 11th. Honestly, we’ll be doing good to get 3,000 voters or so to the polls for the runoff. But even with limited participation the candidates were still ready to field the questions provided by citizens. So how do things look as we get ready to jump into early voting that runs from May 31 – June 7?
Yesterday I started looking back at San Antonio’s general election and what really happened last weekend. One thing is pretty clear in that the conventional political wisdom was thrown for a loop with the victory of Rey Saldaña in District 4 and the large lead Diego Bernal had over the rest of the pack in District 1. Saldaña beat a political insider who not only had the backing of the business and City Hall insider crowd but also the endorsement of the mayor. Bernal started the race in third place but emerged the frontrunner with a 12 point lead over the expected frontrunner, Ralph Medina. Both candidates are young and new to the San Antonio political scene with very little experience or exposure with voters. So what propelled these two newcomers to their surprising outcomes?
San Antonio has almost completed its municipal election cycle for the next two years. The only thing left to do is finish runoffs in two districts, District 1 and 7, where everyone expected runoffs to occur. In the other districts, incumbents secured their seats, a self-funded businessman locked in his place on council, and a young political newcomer defeated a seasoned, well-connected politician. But even though D1 and D7 have runoffs scheduled for June 11th, is the answer already known in those districts?
Tuesday night candidates for the District 1 council seat came together for what is probably the last public candidate forum before early voting starts. Granted KLRN will be broadcasting their candidate forum on Sunday, May 1st, at 3 p.m.. But this was a chance for the candidates to meet constituents face to face and hear for themselves where the candidates stood on key issues. Interest was high enough to pull together seven neighborhood associations and almost fill the auditorium at Mark Twain Middle School. Based on public interest and the quality of answers from the candidates, we have ourselves one of the best races in District 1 in a long time.
Okay, I know the title wasn’t that original, but it seems to fit Diego Bernal’s candidacy better than any other one I could come up with. Bernal’s campaign is one of the leanest and greenest of all of the candidates in District 1 but that’s not stopping this young civil rights attorney in his quest for a seat on the dais in City Hall. What makes his candidacy even more interesting are all the dynamics surrounding his bid for office. For a district as diverse as D1 that’s definitely a good start to connect with the voters in the district.
It’s time for the municipal elections in San Antonio and 2011 should prove to be interesting. I covered most of the districts in a prior post, except for one district. So that brings me to my home district, District 1. This district is where I predict all the fun will be had for the 2011 election cycle. Currently there are four announced candidates for the seat currently held by Mary Alice Cisneros, who terms out in 2011. Not only do I expect this district to be the hottest race in the munis it’s also the one I’ll be watching most closely since I live in the district. So who are the candidates at this point and what are their backgrounds?