District 10 City Councilman Clayton Perry has told colleagues he doesn’t plan to seek reelection, an indication that he has heeded the advice of political allies following his involvement in a hit-and-run crash that’s left him facing a DWI charge.

Sources familiar with his plans said Perry intends to make a formal announcement Thursday, one day before the filing deadline for the May 6 municipal election. One candidate who had been awaiting his decision, Marc Whyte, sent a press release on Wednesday announcing plans to file for the District 10 seat on Thursday morning.

Whyte, an attorney who ran unsuccessfully for state representative as a Republican in 2018, has been long been considered Perry’s likely successor. He indicated he was waiting to formally enter the race until Perry had made a decision on his political future.

“I think [Perry’s] making the right decision,” said Councilman Manny Pelaez (D8), who uses some of the same campaign staff as Perry.

Pelaez said Perry had informed him personally of his plans not to seek a fourth and final term.

“[Perry] wakes up every single morning in love with his district, and has brought that to the table every day of work for the past six years,” Pelaez said. But “he’s got a very real problem across the street [at the courthouse]. I don’t think that’s going to be easy for him.”

After Perry’s car crash, his council colleagues agreed to his request for a leave of absence. 

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, yet he returned to work last month and even floated the idea of another term to supporters at the Northeast Neighborhood Alliance’s January meeting.

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. 

Though the incident left Perry politically vulnerable, his lack of formal reelection announcement has kept other candidates at bay. That’s despite 17 candidates applying for a temporary appointment while Perry took a leave of absence.

Last week one of those candidates, retired engineer Joel Solis, was the first District 10 candidate to file for the May 6 election. He currently serves as Perry’s appointee to the SA Building Standards Board. 

Madison Gutierrez, an advertising professional, and Margaret Sherwood, a property manager, have also filed to run in District 10.

Perry would be the council’s second member to bow out of the upcoming municipal election, following Ana Sandoval’s resignation to accept a job at University Health last month. All of the other incumbents have filed for reelection.

District 10 has long sent conservatives to the City Council, even as it supported Democrats for higher office. Democratic Beto O’Rourke carried it with roughly 54% in November, and President Joe Biden with 53% in 2020. 

Jeff McManus, chair of the Republican Party of Bexar County, said he emailed Perry earlier this month asking him not to run and to throw his support behind Whyte, who is Perry’s appointee on the Zoning Commission.

Whyte said Wednesday that he wants “to ensure District 10 taxpayers have fiscally responsible, effective leadership for developing solutions that make our community a better place to live, work, and raise all families,” according to the press release announcing his candidacy.

Perry was elected to the council in 2017 and faced a runoff against environmental lawyer Ezra Johnson in his first reelection race. Johnson challenged the incumbent a second time in 2021, but Perry was reelected outright with 54% of the vote.

He considered running for higher office — including Bexar County’s Commissioners Court — several times while serving on City Council, and reported roughly $62,000 in his campaign account — more than most of his colleagues — as of Dec. 31.

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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.