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Nationwide Shellacking Fails To Ruffle Young Texas Democrats; The Focus Now Is On Step Two

Eileen Pace
TPR News

State Rep. Mike Villarreal is heading back to the Texas capital after an easy win on Tuesday. But, as TPR’s Ryan Loyd reports, his focus is on the mayor's seat in San Antonio.

The “it” word in politics right now is “shellacking.” That was how President Obama described how Democrats fared in Tuesday's midterm elections.

Many say that would summarize the situation in Texas, too. But Democrats like the State Rep. from San Antonio, Mike Villarreal, who did stand from Democratic-favored districts, did just fine.

Villarreal won with more than 80 percent of the vote Tuesday. But now he's focusing on becoming San Antonio's next mayor and he has help at hand —many top names backing him, and a campaign war chest that’s getting bigger by the day.

Villarreal said he wants a debate on the future of the city between now and the election.

"And how to continue to keep the momentum going," he said finishing his sentence. "I’m interested in having that conversation with the voters of San Antonio, and also taking the time to listen to what they believe should be top priorities of the next mayor of San Antonio.”

Villarreal said that long-term, Texas would be more competitive between the two parties.

Credit Gonzalo Rodriguez / Duable
District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal believes Texas will be more competitive in the future among the two parties, and hopes both sides will be able to work together.

District 1 San Antonio City Councilman, Diego Bernal, agreed. He said that the long-term outlook piqued his interest because it would be a chance for him to broaden his scope of service among a large constituency.

“I really enjoy what I do,” said Bernal. “I love helping people and I’d be lying if I said that there wasn’t something very attractive about tackling issues like education and healthcare. Those are things that affect people’s lives, and I’m certainly attracted to that. It’s the kind of work I did before being on [the] council anyway, so to be honest with you, it’s very, very exciting, and it’s very attractive.”

Does that mean he’d be trying for Villarreal's seat? That, apparently, remains to be seen. But Bernal did say that Texas turning purple was an eventuality where politicians would be able to work together, and make his goal of service produce real results.

Ryan Loyd was Texas Public Radio's city beat and political reporter. He left the organization in December, 2014.