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March 23, 2005

San Antonio Race For Mayor

By Andrew Dobbs

Yesterday I said that I would put up some information on the 2005 race for Mayor of San Antonio. I was just getting ready to track everything down when Cincinnatus of Politicks, Sports and Culture beat me to it. His post is a must read that will catch you up on all of the characters and issues in this race.

As in most big city races, race itself is a big issue. Julian Castro, the 30 year old twin brother of State Rep. Joaquin Castro, is leading the race as a result of his top billing among the city's majority Latino population. However, the two biggest turnouts for a city election (and the mayor and entire council are up for election every two years) in the last quarter century were just about 15%. That means that while the city is 2/3 minority- largely Latino with sizeable African-American base and a growing Asian population- the elections are often driven by upper class whites in Northwest SA. Two candidates are vying for their support- 70 year old former 4th Court of Appeals Cheif Justice Phil Hardberger (a Democrat), and Republican City Councilman Carroll Schubert.

Schubert is weakest, with virtually no minority support, and despite the low turnout, minority support is a big factor in these races. Hardberger is second, with a majority of support in no particular group, he performs well in all of them. Castro has overwhelming Latino support, a plurality of African Americans and a statistical tie for first among Asians (though Hardberger might gain ground there with a new endorsement from the Asian American Chamber of Commerce) and is in the lead right now. Still, no one has a majority as it stands and will almost certainly go to a runoff. Castro has one spot on lockdown it seems, Hardberger and Schubert are fighting for second place.

In the name of full disclosure, I must note that Hardberger's campaign manager is a dear friend of mine- Christian Archer. I must also note that the candidate who wins the "Dobbs Candidate Test"- a) are you a Democrat? and b) will you go on to bigger and better things?- is Julian Castro. I think that these two will likely end up in the runoff, and Hardberger is more likely to pick up Schubert supporters than Castro is. Castro is in an unenviable position right now in many ways- he has probably peaked in his popularity and has everything to lose. He can't tamp down expectations, and if Hardberger ends up within 10 points of him in the first round, he'll be hemmoraghing badly. I think that Hardberger might very well end up winning this one.

Still, the race is 8 weeks away and things are getting hot and heavy. Keep up with BOR for all your news on this vital race!

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at March 23, 2005 03:06 PM | TrackBack


Latinos for Texas is supporting Castro and will go down to SA to blockwalk for him.. most likely for an early vote GOTV push... everyone welcome!

Posted by: Crystal at March 23, 2005 03:57 PM

Just thought I’d share some in insight from a native San Antonion. I would say that what the race will come down to is the even lower turn-out in the expected run-off. It's not the NW that is white republican rather the North side of San Antonio. Unfortunately race still plays a huge role in local San Antonio elections. Though San Antonio is 2/3 Hispanic as Andrew mentioned much of the new growth in the Hispanic population has been through birth rate. That creates a young population that is either under the voting age or just doesn’t turnout. I would also point out that while San Antonio is majority Hispanic, the influential business community is not.

Posted by: Julian Garza at March 23, 2005 04:30 PM

Thanks for the analysis, Julian. I figured it broke down that way, since it is similar in most big cities. I really think that Hardberger will probably end up winning this one, but I am usually pretty bad at predicting these things.

What would you say Schubert's chances are? He's (obviously) the only one I am totally against. I'd be happy with either of the other two, but for different reasons...

Posted by: Andrew Dobbs at March 23, 2005 04:39 PM

Well I'm fairly bias in the prediction area. Julian is the front runner but its probably going into a run off and i think thats a toss up. I live in the north side and while most places there are prohibited from putting up yard signs(imagine that, stuffy neighborhood bylaws) it looks pretty mixed between Shubert and Hardberger. I'm orginally from district 7 which is where Julian, is from as was our last mayor, so i'm for Julian. Though Corruption has been an issue in San Antonio government some important issues like sprawl and protection of the recharge zone will probably only be dealt with superficially.

Posted by: Julian Garza at March 23, 2005 05:17 PM

Vital! Hemmoraghing !Doctor something..

Posted by: Bill Brill at March 23, 2005 07:42 PM

To me there is one intriguing question in this race: why does Phil Hardberger want to be Mayor of San Antonio?

The guy is 70 +-. Why does he want immersion in conflict and 24/7 demands on his time for the next two years? The job isn't either a step up for him. And if he wants to run for Gov or Senate, he doesn't need to do this first.

I'm sure at some point he'll say something along the lines of "giving back to the community". Yeah, Phil.

Not that I'm opposed to him. But whenever there's an unknown this obvious in a race, I got to ask myself what's the real skinny here?

Posted by: Demo Memo at March 23, 2005 10:48 PM

it will come down to a run-off, but maybe, just maybe the property tax freeze will bring out enough older hispanics to win it outright for Julian.. maybe

Posted by: Crystal at March 24, 2005 12:13 PM
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