Elections 2021Local NewsSan Antonio City Council Tilts Left After Runoff Election

The Democratic Socialists of America claimed victory after incumbents Roberto Treviño and Jada Andrews-Sullivan lost their seats.
June 8, 2021
San Antonio’s city council turned a deeper shade of blue on Saturday after a runoff election ushered in new progressive members.

The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) celebrated the victories of Jalen McKee-Rodriguez and Teri Castillo, who won Districts 2 and 5, respectively.

“Last night our chapter made history in San Antonio by electing two DSA members to City Council,” the group wrote in a statement.

“Our members knocked over 10,000 doors between these two districts, securing a win over the bosses, developers, homophobia, ageism, the police union, and right-wing fear tactics.”

Castillo received the endorsement of Bernie Sanders, who also endorsed the professedly moderate John Courage (District 9) in 2017.

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McKee-Rodriguez ousted incumbent Councilwoman Jada Andrews-Sullivan (District 2), who formerly employed him in her campaign and office. Andrews-Sullivan and Treviño were the only two incumbents to lose their seats.

Treviño lost to Mario Bravo, a project manager at the Environmental Defense Fund with some experience at the margins of the city government. Bravo was formerly chair of the CPS Energy Environmental Stakeholders Group and also served on a working group for development of San Antonio’s “Climate Action” plan.

While both Andrews-Sullivan and Treviño have built reputations as liberal members of the council, Castillo and McKee-Rodriguez cast themselves as progressive alternatives.

Both supported Proposition B, the ballot measure to strip the San Antonio Police Officers Association of collective bargaining power. Though it made no changes to the department’s budget, the proposition quickly became a political football with support falling on party lines among statewide figures like Beto O’Rourke, who supported it, and Governor Greg Abbott, who opposed it. Proposition B failed narrowly in the May 1 election.

Castillo also criticized the Ready to Work SA initiative, a successfully passed proposition to create funding for job training and tuition assistance, as needed but inadequate.

“The fact that the 11-member Ready to Work SA Advisory Board guiding this initiative has so many business representative voices yet so few labor and education representative voices is problematic,” Castillo wrote in response to a survey by Texas Public Radio.

“There are few announced indications that folk are being trained in ways that will lead to long-term pay at livable wages, or even that the training is translatable to work across a variety of industries, in the event that industry targets prove to be inflated or incorrect.”

McKee-Rodriguez has made housing one of his prime issues, calling for a citywide tenants’ bill of rights that includes “a ban on discrimination based on source of income” and “a ban on consideration based on non-violent crimes.”

If Treviño had kept his seat, this election would have begun his last eligible term as a councilman. Treviño’s leadership role on the Alamo renovation project defined much of his tenure and gave him statewide prominence.

The city council runoff saw low turnout with just a tenth of registered voters casting a ballot. In the last three June runoffs for San Antonio city races, turnout ranged from 13 to 16 percent.

Here are the final city council results from the June 5 runoff, with the winners underlined.

June 5 results

379,045 total registered voters

Total ballots cast:

39,534 total

10,840 election day

7,135 absentee

21,559 early voting

10.43% voter turnout

District 1

Mario Bravo – 4,036 votes, 53.58%

Roberto Treviño (incumbent) – 3,497 votes, 46.42%

District 2

Jada Andrews-Sullivan (incumbent) – 1,731, 36.89%

Jalen McKee-Rodriguez – 2,961 votes, 63.11%

District 3

Tomas Uresti – 1,825, 40.15%

Phyllis Viagran – 2,721 votes, 59.85%

District 5

Teri Castillo – 2,493 votes, 57.58%

Rudy Lopez – 1,837, 42.42%

District 9

Patrick Von Dohlen – 8,476, 46.14%

John Courage (incumbent) – 9,895, 53.86%

May 1 results

960,884 registered voters

Total ballots cast:

165,972 total

50,339 election day

14,412 absentee

101,221 early voting

District 4

Adriana Rocha Garcia (incumbent) – 4,720 votes, 69.76%

District 6

Melissa Cabello Havrda (incumbent) – 6,899 votes, 55.48%

District 7

Ana E. Sandoval (incumbent) – 11,324 votes, 71.27%

District 8

Manny Pelaez (incumbent) – 10,393 votes, 59.34%

District 10

Clayton Perry (incumbent) – 10,694 votes, 54.33%


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Isaiah Mitchell

Isaiah Mitchell is a reporter for The Texan, a Texas native, and a huge Allman Brothers fan. He graduated cum laude from Trinity University in 2020 with a degree in English. Isaiah loves playing music and football with his family.