(From left) Keith Toney hugs Jada Andrews-Sullivan after she claimed victory in District 2.
(From left) Keith Toney hugs Jada Andrews-Sullivan after she claimed victory in District 2. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

Jada Andrews-Sullivan has declared victory over Keith Toney in the hotly contested runoff election for District 2.

Andrews-Sullivan claimed 52.13 percent of the vote to Toney’s 47.87 with all precincts reporting.

The race was tight throughout the night with the two candidates separated by just 99 votes when early voting totals were released. However, Andrews-Sullivan steadily lengthened her lead as more precincts reported before finishing with a winning margin of 268 votes.

“We’re going to tear the roof off of here in celebration,” Andrews-Sullivan told supporters gathered at Tucker’s Kozy Korner after final tallies were released. Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration” began playing as she stepped off a stage at the venue.

Andrews-Sullivan thanked her campaign team and the voters who “put their trust in me.”

“I just want to get out there and serve them to the best of my abilities,” she said.

The councilwoman-elect told the Rivard Report she was humbled after receiving the news she had won. Among her first orders of business on Council will be tackling homelessness, rising property taxes, and supporting the youth of District 2, she said.

“It was definitely a good race, and that’s where we are,” Toney said in a phone interview as final results were posted. He declined to comment further.

Shortly after, Toney arrived at Tucker’s Kozy Korner, where he embraced Andrews-Sullivan and exchanged quiet words.

The revolving-door District 2 has had four councilmen since former seatholder Ivy Taylor was appointed mayor in 2014.

Andrews-Sullivan, who earned crucial endorsements during her campaign, was also dogged by criticism from some in the Eastside community, who pointed to her ties with the developer community, challenged her claim as a military veteran, and pointed out her history of being charged with writing bad checks, an arrest warrant in connection to theft, and an eviction.

She said the theft and fraudulent checks occurred during her third marriage. She said her then-husband abused her, hospitalizing her during her pregnancy, and took advantage of her. Andrews-Sullivan later fled, but her husband followed and threatened her before taking his own life, she said.

Toney was part of a field of four candidates seeking the seat in May 2017 but came in third and failed to make the runoff.

William “Cruz” Shaw beat then-Councilman Alan Warrick in a runoff later that year but left his post before it was completed – taking a job as an associate judge. Art Hall then replaced him as an appointee but chose not to seek election.

A retired federal employee, Toney has lived in San Antonio since the 1990s. The Vietnam War veteran earned a Bronze Star for his service in 1972.

Toney’s time on Council was brief. In August 2014, he was appointed to fill the vacancy left by Taylor and served just four months before losing his seat to Warrick in the special election that December.

Earlier in the evening at a campaign watch party at Tony G’s Soul Food on South Hackberry Street, Toney said he and his campaign staff felt “excellent” about the early voting results.

He commended his opponent, saying both campaigns tried hard to avoid “personal attacks.” The difference between them lies in “experience,” he said, touting his service as former board president of Fort Sam Houston Independent School District, as appointed interim councilman, and other board and commission appointments.

With Andrews-Sullivan prevailing in District 2 and women winning races in District 4 and 6, San Antonio City Council will comprise a female majority for the second time in the city’s history.

“Women are awesome,” she said. “We carry a lot. We as women have always been able to [support our communities] from the beginning of time, and that’s what we’ll continue to do.”

JJ Velasquez was a columnist, former editor and reporter at the San Antonio Report.