Dallas, San Antonio mayoral races set for runoffs as Fort Worth mayor wins re-election

Texas Tribune News

Top row, from left: Former state Rep.Eric Johnson and Scott Griggs of Dallas. Bottom row, from left: Incumbent San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and challenger Greg Brockhouse.
Top row, from left: Former state Rep.Eric Johnson and Scott Griggs of Dallas. Bottom row, from left: Incumbent San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and challenger Greg Brockhouse.
Emree Weaver: Johnson/Robin Jerstad: Nirenberg/Social media

The Dallas mayoral race is headed to a runoff, while San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg was forced into an overtime round and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price easily won re-election.

That is according to unofficial returns Saturday night for the mayoral elections in three of Texas’ largest cities, representing a combined 3.7 million people. All but a few precincts were reporting in Fort Worth and San Antonio, while 87% were reporting in Dallas.

The runoffs will be June 8.

In Dallas, the top two finishers in the crowded field to succeed term-limited Mayor Mike Rawlings appeared to be state Rep. Eric Johnson, D-Dallas, and Scott Griggs, a member of the Dallas City Council. Johnson had 21% of the vote, while Griggs had 18%.

In San Antonio, Nirenberg failed to win a second term outright, advancing to a runoff against Greg Brockhouse, a member of the city council. Nirenberg finished narrowly ahead of Brockhouse, 49% to 46%.

And in Fort Worth, Mayor Betsy Price handily won an unprecedented fifth term, defeating her top challenger, Deborah Peoples, by 14 percentage points.

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price in Austin in 2015.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price in Austin in 2015.
Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

The races were nonpartisan, though partisan politics was a part of them. Peoples, the chairwoman of the Tarrant County Democratic Party, was endorsed by the state party and had been boosted in recent days by a trio of Democratic presidential candidates: U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders as well as Texans Juli├ín Castro and Beto O’Rourke. The latter two campaigned with her this weekend in Fort Worth.

While the Fort Worth contest was not close, Peoples was the strongest challenger that Price had faced since she was first elected in 2011. Peoples ran for re-election twice unopposed and defeated a political newcomer in 2017 by 40 points.

In San Antonio, mayoral politics continued to prove volatile, with voters set to pick their mayor in a runoff for the third consecutive time. Nirenberg ousted incumbent Ivy Taylor in an overtime round in 2017, two years after she won in a runoff.

The Nirenberg-Brockhouse matchup had been animated in recent weeks by the city’s decision to bar Chick-fil-A from its airport over an alleged “legacy of anti-LGBT behavior.” Nirenberg had supported the move and defended it from a business perspective, noting the fast food chain is closed on Sundays, while Brockhouse had aligned with conservatives in opposing the decision and trying to get it reversed.

In Dallas, a runoff was all but guaranteed given the field of nine candidates, most of them viable. Finishing behind the runoff qualifiers were philanthropist Lynn McBee, developer Mike Ablon, school board trustee Miguel Solis and civic leader Regina Montoya, who had the endorsement of longtime friend Hillary Clinton.