Texas Tribune News
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg narrowly won re-election Saturday night, while state Rep. Eric Johnson, D-Dallas, was poised to easily prevail in the Dallas mayoral runoff.
As returns rolled in throughout the night, Nirenberg maintained a slim lead over City Councilman Greg Brockhouse; In the end, Nirenberg prevailed, securing 51 percent of the vote. He was running for a second term.
In Dallas, Johnson maintained a double-digit advantage over City Councilman Scott Griggs throughout the night. With 74% of precincts reporting, Johnson led Griggs 57% to 43% in unofficial returns. They were vying to succeed term-limited Mayor Mike Rawlings.
Both races were nonpartisan, though the apparent wins by Johnson and Nirenberg keep both seats in the hands of officials allied with the Democratic Party. San Antonio and Dallas are Texas’ second and third most populous cities, respectively, home to nearly 3 million people.
In San Antonio, Brockhouse gave Nirenberg a close call after forcing him into a runoff — a surprise to some — and finishing just 3 percentage points behind him last month. The bitter race had been animated by issues including the City Council’s decision to bar Chick-fil-A from the airport — which Nirenberg supported and Brockhouse opposed — as well as years-old domestic assault allegations against Brockhouse, which he has denied.
In the runoff, Nirenberg consolidated some support among Democrats, getting endorsements from the state party as well as the Texas Organizing Project. Brockhouse, meanwhile, continued to benefit from his close ties to the police and firefighter unions, for which he was once a consultant.
In Dallas, Saturday night was not as suspenseful. After finishing first in the initial election last month, topping eight other candidates, Johnson received a raft of endorsements from the city’s political establishment, including Rawlings, and continued to receive aid from the Republican-friendly business community. The police and firefighter unions backed Griggs, who presented himself as the public safety candidate.
Johnson and Griggs did not differ much on policy, though they and their supporters sparred over leadership style. Johnson argued he would be more unifying than Griggs, who has been a voice of opposition on the council, while Griggs supporters painted Johnson as thin-skinned.
Johnson’s victory in the mayoral runoff means Gov. Greg Abbott will have to call a special election in November to fill Johnson’s seat. Democrats are widely expected to hold on to it.