The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Wanna be Mayor? Take A Number.

Ken Rodriguez' new column has the tally of current city councilmen (all men) who have more than a passing interest to become mayor of SA at five:

In a corner of City Council chambers, just before Thursday's meeting began, I put the question to Kevin Wolff, the pedigreed son of County Judge and former mayor Nelson Wolff.

Do you have mayoral ambitions?

"I'd be surprised if you found anyone (on council) who hasn't thought about it," Kevin said. "Does the thought cross my mind? Yeah. But on a list of priorities, it's way, way down there."

It's not that far down. Since winning the District 9 council seat, Kevin has spoken with friends and advisers about a 2009 mayoral campaign.

"It's the worst-kept secret in town that he wants to run," one friend said.

Think it's too early to ponder Phil Hardberger's successor? Mayoral aspirants don't think so.

Kevin Wolff and four other council members have consulted with at least one political strategist about possible campaigns.

"These weren't phone calls," the strategist said. "These were face-to-face meetings."

The strategist said Wolff, Richard Perez, Roger O. Flores, Roland Gutierrez and Chip Haass have expressed varying degrees of interest in succeeding Hardberger.

Of course, Julian Castro would put that number up to six. Some interesting stuff, but none of it is particularly surprising. Wolff's comment tends to strike me as a play on the old senator line of, "every senator looks into a mirror and sees a president." I guess sitting on the dais and realizing you have the exact same vote as the mayor will do that to you.

Wolff will be following in the footsteps of former District 9 Councilmen Tim Bannwolf and Carroll Schubert. Not a particularly attractive group to follow, but his father should be able to help him out with the problem both Bannwolf and Schubert had in their failed mayoral campaigns- winning votes south of North Star mall. Interestingly enough, Perez almost closes the door on a possible state representative shot should Carlos Uresti decide to challenge Frank Madla. Although that shouldn't be too surprising, I think Perez is just more interested in city government than he is state government.

But this article serves to underscore just how important the 2005 city elections were. It doesn't seem as if any one of the above mentioned candidates is looking to let Julian Castro have another shot uncontested. And if either Gutierrez or Perez were to run alongside Castro in '09, both candidates would fracture their base, allowing someone like Wolff to squeak into a run-off. Plus it would make the east side of San Antonio the political battleground.

I still think it'd be foolish to challenge Hardberger in '07, so I'm operating under the assumption- as is Rodriguez- that this is an extremely early outlook at 2009. And this early on I'd like to see Perez or Gutierrez garner some interest. It's about time we get a strong, serious mayoral candidate from the south side of San Antonio.

In other news, John Courage finally gets a blurb about his Grassroots All-Star victory in the Express-News. Not anything big, but this early in the race a challenger's gotta take whatever he/she can get. We'll see, monetarily, how big this endorsement was for Courage in a little more than a week.