(From left) Mayor Ron Nirenberg, Congressman Joaquin Castro, and former Mayor and HUD Secretary Julián Castro.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg (left) receives an endorsement from Congressman Joaquin Castro, and former Mayor and HUD Secretary Julián Castro. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

Mayor Ron Nirenberg received an official endorsement from Presidential candidate and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and his twin brother Congressman Joaquín Castro on Saturday morning.

It’s the latest in a string of official endorsements Nirenberg received from progressive groups, including the Texas Organizing Project, Texas Democratic Party, and the San Antonio AFL-CIO Labor Council, which is comprised of 36 labor unions. Nirenberg faces Councilman Greg Brockhouse (D6), who leans conservative on most issues, in a tight runoff set for Saturday, June 8.

“We have an opportunity to re-elect a man who has been wonderful for this city, who has paid attention to every single part of this city, who has tried to make sure that there are not places of this city that are left behind [like they have in years past],” Joaquín said at a rally held at Nirenberg’s campaign headquarters near downtown prior to the campaign beginning its weekend of block walking. “As Julián used to say, ‘this is a city on the rise.’ Well, under Ron Nirenberg, our city has continued to rise.”

The Castros highlighted the mayor’s work in affordable housing, executing the first “equity budget” that targets underserved areas, transportation planning efforts, and solidifying San Antonio as a compassionate city.

“What we have is a choice between a mayor that wants to move us forward as a city, where everybody can prosper and we continue to grow with elegance,” Julián said. “Or a candidate that would take us backward.”

During the May 4 election, neither Brockhouse nor Nirenberg was able to secure a majority vote, Nirenberg noted, and he said many of his supporters woke up on May 5 asking, “What happened?”

“May 4, believe it or not, was a blessing,” Nirenberg said. “It’ll be the best thing to me as your mayor … because it was a wake-up call. Because if we’re going to build that city that’s for everyone … progress requires a fight every single day because the forces of regression that will pull us backward – as a city, as a state, as a nation – are at play.”

Mayor Ron Nirenberg's campaign headquarters are full with supporters and volunteers.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg’s campaign headquarters is filled with supporters and volunteers. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

Brockhouse’s main endorsements have come from the police officer and firefighter unions, for which he used to work as a political consultant before he became a Councilman in 2017. Nirenberg said if Brockhouse were elected, that conflict of interest would ultimately hurt taxpayers as the city is negotiating its labor contract with the fire union. Brockhouse’s retort has been that Nirenberg hasn’t accomplished enough in his first term to warrant a second, and the planning efforts he launched are examples of government overreach and overspending.

Endorsements don’t necessarily make or break a race and can be double-edged swords. As outgoing Councilman Rey Saldaña (D4) once said, endorsements can get you “some of their friends, but all of their enemies.”

But Nirenberg has received endorsements from prominent Republicans, too, he said, including auto dealer, billionaire, and philanthropist B.J. “Red” McCombs.

McCombs recorded a radio spot asking voters to pick Nirenberg.

“We’ve got to wake up San Antonio, or our two public safety unions will take control of City Hall and mortgage our city’s future for lucrative contracts for them,” McCombs said in the ad.

The mayoral election has been divisive with shouting matches at public forums between supporters of both candidates, accusations of lying on both sides, and an electorate that seems torn.

But as Nirenberg noted, whoever wins also will be the representative for their detractors.

“It is one big tent in San Antonio,” Nirenberg told the Rivard Report. “We’re going to continue to have conversations to bring everyone into the fold and at the end of the day … I have been and I will be a mayor for all.”

Senior Reporter Iris Dimmick covers public policy pertaining to social issues, ranging from affordable housing and economic disparity to policing reform and mental health. She was the San Antonio Report's...