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San Antonio mayoral lineup takes shape as Councilman Manny Pelaez makes bid

District 8 Councilman Manny Pelaez announced his run in a YouTube video on TUe
District 8 Councilman Manny Pelaez announced his run in a YouTube video on Tuesday

District 8 Councilman Manny Pelaez announced his bid for mayor on Tuesday. It was a formality for what had already been known for months.

It’s still one year before the May 2025 municipal election, when the entire city council will be on the ballot. The race for mayor is anticipated to be crowded.

Incumbent Mayor Ron Nirenberg is termed out, giving way to the first time the seat has been open since 2009, when Julian Castro first ran for mayor. Two candidates have made formal declarations: Pelaez and his North Side neighbor, Councilman John Courage. Both have reached the limits of their eight-year terms.

Pelaez put public feelers out for a mayoral bid a few days after the 2023 election, where he mentioned voters had been asking if he would consider a run via email. Ten months later, he released his formal announcement via social media on Tuesday.

After Wednesday's city council meeting, Pelaez said he believes he has the “winning formula to … safely shepherd the city to its next evolutionary steps.”

“It’s time that we start talking about San Antonio in terms of it being the seventh largest city in the United States but it’s also time we start acting like it,” he said. “Which means active recruitment of large employers, protecting large, medium, small size employers, making sure we have the right number and the right quality of police and fire here.”

Pelaez has faced sharp backlash for backtracking his support to hold a council meeting that would consider a ceasefire resolution on the Israel-Hamas war.

Pelaez had signed on to a three-signature memo, a method of three council members triggering a council meeting on a specific issue. But then he removed it, preventing the discussion from ultimately taking place.

He said he withdrew his support after speaking to constituents who felt pain and anxiety from the resolution. He added that he felt there were better ways to address the pain and frustration being felt across San Antonio, and that the resolution would have prevented healing and dialogue.

Although the 2025 municipal election is about 13 months away, Pelaez appeared ready to challenge his opponents on policy.

“I think Councilman Courage is a sweet guy,” he said. “I think his ideas are ideas that would be a great way to manage Corpus Christi or Laredo but not one of the great cities of the United States.”

Other council members who have speculated runs for mayor are District 6 Councilwoman Melissa Cabello Havrda and District 4 Councilwoman Adriana Rocha Garcia, but neither have made formal declarations.

Josh Peck contributed to this report.

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Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules