Councilman Clayton Perry (D10) stated Thursday that he won’t seek a fourth term this May but left the door open for future opportunities, saying “this will not be the end of my public service.”

Perry faces charges of driving while intoxicated and failing to stop and give information in connection with a November hit-and-run crash. He’s scheduled to appear in court March 8. 

“After a tremendous amount of thoughtful prayer and reflection, as well as conversations with friends and family, I have made the difficult decision that I will not be running for reelection at this time,” Perry said in a written statement provided to reporters at Thursday’s council meeting.

In the wake of the crash, a group of former District 10 councilmen had urged Perry repeatedly to focus on his health — including alcohol rehabilitation treatment — instead of running for reelection.

“I feel the time has come for me to step aside and continue to ensure my neighbors are the priority,” Perry stated. “Anything less could be a distraction from the work that still needs to be done to move District 10 forward.”

Perry, who was elected in 2017, plans to finish his term, which ends in June. City elections will be held May 6.

Perry’s announcement came the same day his appointee to the Zoning Commission, business attorney Marc Whyte, filed to run for his seat.

Whyte ran unsuccessfully for state representative as a Republican in 2018, and has long been viewed as Perry’s chosen successor in the only district that reliably sends conservative representatives to City Council.

The two men crossed paths Thursday morning at City Hall as Perry was headed to the council meeting and Whyte went to the clerk’s office to file his paperwork to run. They shook hands, and Perry declined to answer questions from reporters on his way out the door.

As the council meeting was starting across the street at the Municipal Plaza Building, Whyte was still speaking with at least a half dozen reporters on the steps outside City Hall.

“The way this has been reported in the media that it’s somewhat of a Clayton versus Marc thing … that’s absolutely untrue,” said Whyte, who was joined by his wife and two daughters. “He and I have been talking every couple of days over the last three weeks.”

“I wanted to give him space to make his own decision,” Whyte added. “I never wanted him to feel like I was pushing him out in any way because that certainly was never the intent.”

Whyte had been waiting until Perry came to a decision about seeking reelection before filing as a candidate himself. The deadline for candidates to file for the city election is Friday at 5 p.m.

Whyte, 42, has the backing of local Republican leaders. He said he recently resigned from the board of the Northeast Neighborhood Alliance, a coalition of neighborhood associations, and plans to loan his campaign $50,000.

“District 10 is certainly a conservative district,” Whyte said. “… I think I’m best prepared to advocate for conservative issues: … low taxes, low crime, economic development, creating jobs.”

Sources familiar with Perry’s plans said earlier this week he intended to announce at Thursday’s City Council meeting that he would not to seek reelection.

Bruce Davidson, Mayor Ron Nirenberg’s spokesman, said the mayor and Perry spoke on the phone before the meeting. Davidson said City Attorney Andy Segovia advised Perry against speaking about his political future from the dais on city time.

Clayton Perry, center, hugs Melissa Cabello Havrda (D6) during City Council's B Session on Wednesday.
Councilman Clayton Perry (D10), center, hugs Councilwoman Melissa Cabello Havrda (D6) during a City Council meeting on Wednesday. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

In his written statement, Perry thanked staff and supporters for their role in a job that “has been one of the greatest joys of my life.”

“We’ve been a great team and brought some much-needed common sense, pragmatism and fiscal responsibility to the San Antonio City Council,” Perry stated.

Perry’s appointee to the SA Building Standards Board, Joel Solis, advertising professional Madison Gutierrez and property manager Margaret Sherwood have also filed to run in District 10.

This article has been updated to clarify that City Attorney Andy Segovia, not the mayor, advised Clayton Perry not to address his reelection plans from from the City Council dais.

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Andrea Drusch

Andrea Drusch writes about local government for the San Antonio Report. She's covered politics in Washington, D.C., and Texas for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, National Journal and Politico.