Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Councilman Greg Brockhouse (D6) participate in their final debate on KLRN seeking the office of Mayor in the upcoming election.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg and then-Councilman Greg Brockhouse (D6), participate in their final mayoral debate, televised on KRLN-TV, before election day in 2019. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

No new ground was covered Thursday during the mayoral candidate debate between Councilman Greg Brockhouse (D6) and incumbent Mayor Ron Nirenberg – but the television and online viewers were given another glimpse at the stark difference between two men vying to become the mayor of San Antonio for the next two years.

Nirenberg emphasized the strong foundation and momentum his first term has laid in the way of long-term policy and planning initiatives surrounding affordable housing, climate change mitigation, and transportation. Brockhouse said the mayor was “all talk and no action” and criticized him for governing by task force and furthering the gap between City Hall and residents.

“I’m again grateful for the opportunity to lay a clear and distinct difference between the vision of the city that’s moving forward and the record of getting things done at City Hall and Councilman Brockhouse’s continued bluster about things that he can’t get done,” Nirenberg said after the debate.

“It was kinda a rehash of the same things we’ve been talking about,” Brockhouse said. “Different styles, different beliefs.”

The last debate before the May 4 local election was hosted and broadcast by KLRN-TV, the local PBS station, and sponsored by the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. Click here to watch the debate, which starts at minute 15.

The negative attacks that Nirenberg’s campaign is lodging against Brockhouse – which cites domestic violence allegations, close ties to public safety union, child support payment issues – is a “sure sign,” Brockhouse said, “that I’m in a good position. … Nobody even thought we would be in the race as a first-term Council member challenging an incumbent mayor. I am thrilled at where we’re at. … We have the momentum right now.”

Many say that recent momentum has been fueled by the controversial City Council vote to remove Chick-fil-A from an airport contract.

Nirenberg said the decision to remove the fast-food restaurant was purely an economic, business decision, nothing to do with the religious ties the owners have. Brockhouse criticized the mayor for downplaying the decision’s ramifications for religious freedoms. The issue has been brought up at nearly all mayoral debates.

Polls are open on election day, Saturday, May 4, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Click here for voting locations.

Iris Dimmick

Senior Reporter Iris Dimmick covers public policy pertaining to social issues, ranging from affordable housing and economic disparity to policing reform and workforce development. Contact her at iris@sareport.org