Alan Warrick II convincingly defeated incumbent District 2 Councilmember Keith Toney, an interim appointee who has served less than five months in office, in a runoff election that concluded Tuesday. With 100% of the vote counted, Warrick won 59-41% over incumbent Keith Toney in a runoff election Tuesday night.
Toney he conceded defeat Tuesday night and in an interview with the Rivard Report he promised a rematch in the May elections when voters will elect a council member for a full two-year term.
“District 2 voters went out and voted for a brighter future and I’m going to do my best to provide that for them,” Warrick told a raucous crowd of supporters at his Eastside campaign headquarters. Warrick’s final victory mirrored the early voting returns released earlier in the evening that all but decided the outcome. About 66.5% of the vote was cast early.
“I just want to thank my family and my wife – she was an angel during this time that I was working so hard out on the streets, working at all hours of the night, just getting votes any way that I could,” Warrick said.
Toney watched the final numbers roll in at a crowded watch party in the lobby of the Comfort Suites at 505 Live Oak St. while an equally well-attended crowd was entertained by a hip-hop band at Warrick’s campaign headquarters at 701 Montana St.
Mayor Ivy Taylor arrived with plenty of time to spare for Warrick’s victory speech to show her support.
“I believe my victory sends a message that we need to continue the progress already made, but we also need new ideas and energy to engage more people in the work of the district,” Warrick said to District 2 resident and former Dignowity Hill Neighborhood Association president Juan Garcia.
Despite the dramatic 59-41% loss, Toney was gracious in defeat, complimenting Warrick on an energetic and fair campaign.
“We had a couple of things working against us: Number one, Alan is a native son, he’s home-grown, and even though he did leave for a while, he’s come home,” said Toney, who was born in Alliance, Ohio and moved here in 1992. “Also the fact I am the incumbent meant that as a sitting council person I had to fulfill those responsibilities to my constituents and that took time away that I otherwise could have spent campaigning. But Alan ran a hard race and I have to congratulate him on that.”
When asked if he is contemplating a run for the District 2 seat in the May 9 city elections, Toney replied, “Without a doubt.”
Toney will continue to serve on the Council for this week’s final B Session on Wednesday and the regular Council meeting on Thursday. That means Toney will vote on two important matters before Warrick is sworn in on Dec. 16 during a special City Council meeting to certify the vote.
First, he will join the mayor and other council members in selecting a District 1 replacement to fill the seat held by Diego Bernal, who resigned to run for the District 123 Texas House seat vacated by Mike Villarreal, who is running for mayor.
Council will interview all 14 candidates on Wednesday, select three for a second round of interviews on Thursday, after which they will select one of the finalists to be sworn in as interim council member. Toney said he does not have a preferred candidate, but looks forward to the process.
“I’m open-minded on District 1 and want to hear all the candidates, just as the other council members wanted to hear all the candidates when I was up for consideration,” Toney said.
The other pending matter is rideshare. After selecting a council member for District 1, rideshare is first up on the agenda.
“To keep Millennials here in San Antonio we need programs like Uber and Lyft to move forward,” Warrick said. “And we need some kind of rail system as well.”
Warrick, however, will not get a say in the matter unless Council decides to defer the vote until after Jan. 1.
Uber and Lyft advocates believe the proposed regulations are too restrictive and will lead to rideshare services coming to an end in San Antonio.
Toney, who favors the tougher regulations and has been critical of the rideshare services for operating throughout the review process, said the intensifying public support for rideshare, including an open letter by Rackspace Co-founder and Chairman Graham Weston to Mayor Taylor and the 10 Council members, has not changed his mind. Toney said he will not support delaying the vote until after the holidays when he will no longer be on Council.
“I have never been a can-kicking council person,” Toney said. “This thing needs to be voted on, either voted up or down. Kicking the can down the road doesn’t solve anything.”
Warrick was quick to comment on other issues before the Council, including the on-again, off-again collective bargaining talks between the City and the police union with the firefighters union refusing to come to the table.
“None of the bargaining process is going to happen without dropping the lawsuit… (then) they can work from a steady baseline,” Warrick said.
Out of 61,082 registered voters in the district, only 3,062 votes were cast – a cringe-worthy 5%. Most of the votes were cast early, continuing a trend in local elections. The 33-year-old Eastside native won the early vote 1,179-830, a nearly 59-41% spread.
Rivard Report Director Robert Rivard contributed to this report.
*Featured/top image: Future District 2 Councilmember Alan Warrick smiles as the election results are announced. Photo by Scott Ball.