Bexar County Democratic Chairman Manuel Medina is set to announce his entry Saturday into this spring’s mayoral race.

The official announcement is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday in front of San Fernando Cathedral in Main Plaza. Medina, 47, would join City Councilman Ron Nirenberg (D8) in the race to unseat Mayor Ivy Taylor in the May 6 election.

Medina issued a press release Wednesday saying an exploratory committee had “spent weeks gauging public opinion and grassroots support” for a mayoral candidacy. He had discussed the formation of the exploratory committee and a campaign contribution of $250,000 of his own money last month, but did not formally announce his mayoral bid at the time.

Talking with a reporter prior to Wednesday’s press release, Medina pointed to what he called “dysfunction in City Hall” and undue influence of special interests as driving his entry into the race.

“The dysfunction at City Hall is a symptom of the special interests,” he said. “The politicians get their contributions, and the special interests get their special favors, and taxpayers get stuck with the bill.”

Use of his own money to fund his campaign shows prospective voters that he would not be beholden to special interests, Medina said.

Medina said San Antonio’s proximity to Mexico and its standing as the nation’s seventh largest city give local leaders a prime opportunity to bolster the city’s relationship with its neighbor to the south.

“People in Iowa have more say than us, and we are closer to the border,” he said. “We know what is best.”

Medina has said his candidacy would represent an option for voters, an alternative to local establishment politics.

“They (taxpayers) are looking for someone independent of these (special) interests and I think that is me,” he said.

Medina also announced Wednesday the appointment of Tom Daniels as campaign treasurer. Daniels is a consultant who has spent 25 years helping local Democrats with campaign finances.

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Edmond Ortiz

Edmond Ortiz, a lifelong San Antonian, is a freelance reporter/editor who has worked with the San Antonio Express-News and Prime Time Newspapers.