UPDATED: Ivy Taylor Poised to Join Mayor’s Race

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Former District 2 Councilwoman Ivy Taylor is sworn in as interim mayor of San Anotnio. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

Iris Dimmick / Rivard Report

Former District 2 Councilmember Ivy Taylor is sworn in as interim mayor of San Antonio in July 2014.

Editor's note: Since word of announcement broke on Saturday (see our story below), Mayor Ivy Taylor has officially announced that she will be running for mayor. Click here to read Monday's coverage.

Mayor Ivy Taylor is on the verge of announcing her candidacy for a full term as mayor of San Antonio, multiple sources said Saturday, joining an already highly competitive field of candidates led by former state Rep. Mike Villarreal and state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte.

One source SAID an announcement could come Wednesday.

Sources supporting both Villarreal and Van de Putte said Saturday they expect Mayor Taylor to join the race this coming week. One source who is a supporter of Mayor Taylor said she began making calls last week to gauge the level of political and financial support for her if she were to run. Raising sufficient funds, as much as $1 million, to mount an aggressive campaign, will be a major challenge with so many donors already committed.

"I am at a conference and out of town. I am still praying and thinking," Mayor Taylor said in a text message to the Rivard Report Saturday morning. "I will let you know as soon as I have made my decision."

"I think she is tired of hearing people say she isn't running or can't run because other strong candidates already have established well-organized and funded campaigns," said one officeholder who has not publicly committed to a mayoral candidate. "I can't say (she) will definitely run, but I believe she is looking for the support she would need to run because in her heart she wants to run and others are urging her to run."

District 2 Councilwoman Ivy Taylor, right before the meeting that confirmed her as mayor of San Antonio. Photo by Scott Ball.

Mayor Ivy Taylor. Photo by Scott Ball.

If Mayor Taylor does run, she would be expected to energize her former District 2 Council base on the city's Eastside, where many African-American leaders have been urging her to seek a full term ever since she was appointed interim mayor. That base is not enough to make her a credible citywide candidate, but several Republican leaders see her as a more conservative candidate who could carry the three suburban districts that together account for as much voter turnout as the seven inner city districts. For all the focus on revitalizing San Antonio's urban core, the fastest growing parts of the city remain the suburbs around and outside Loop 1604.

District 10 Councilmember Mike Gallagher, a retired Air Force officer and the former president of the Northeast Neighborhood Alliance, which represents 85 different neighborhoods, is said to be leading the push to convince Mayor Taylor to enter the race now.

Tommy Adkisson. Courtesy photo.

Tommy Adkisson. Courtesy photo.

Former County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson also is in the race, and some of the same sources said former City Councilmember Elisa Chan (D9) also is on the verge of entering the race. Chan resigned from City Council in 2013 to try to unseat state Sen. Donna Campbell in last year's Republican primary, a contest in which she and former County Commissioner Mike Novak were soundly defeated. She had said then she was not finished with politics.

Chan could not be reached for comment Saturday, but sources said she and former Councilmember Carlton Soules (D10) have both been considering a run for mayor. Soules resigned his council seat a few months after Chan and ran as the Republican candidate seeking to unseat longtime Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, a race he also lost by a substantial margin.

Elisa Chan

Elisa Chan

Carlton Soules

Carlton Soules

One Republican donor said he and others would try to dissuade Chan and Soules from running if Mayor Taylor declares her candidacy to give her a stronger chance of winning  the conservative vote in the Northside suburban council districts.

Mayor Taylor, the first African-American and second woman to hold the office in San Antonio, serves on an interim basis now following her election by City Council last July. She is serving out the unexpired third term of former Mayor Julián Castro, who resigned in July to join the Obama administration as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Filing deadline for the race is Feb. 27, but conventional wisdom held that she had waited too long run, with Villarreal and then Van de Putte securing most available endorsements and building substantial campaign war chests.

Mayoral candidates Mike Villarreal (left) and Leticia Van de Putte spoke at the Alamo Beer Company brewery ribbon cutting ceremony. Photos by Iris Dimmick.

Mayoral candidates Mike Villarreal (left) and Leticia Van de Putte spoke at the Alamo Beer Company brewery ribbon cutting ceremony. Photos by Iris Dimmick.

If she does enter the race, Mayor Taylor would be the second candidate to reverse an earlier pledge that she would not seek a full term as mayor. Van De Putte said during her recent run for lieutenant governor that she would not run for mayor. Mayor Taylor told her City Council colleagues she would only hold the post on an interim basis.

She said in a Aug. 5 speech last year, delivered at a North Chamber of Commerce luncheon held at the Weston Riverwalk, that the interim appointment would enable her to make tough decisions because she would not face re-election.

“Because I don’t need to run for office this year I have freedom that elected officials rarely enjoy, the ability to speak my mind,” Taylor told her audience last August. “So let me list a few problems we are facing: education, economic development, transportation, public health and healthcare, urban vitality, charter reform, infrastructure, and water. If I were more of a politician I’d refer to these as challenges or opportunities rather than problems, but problems they are.”

(Read more: Mayor Taylor: Planning for the Next 300 Days.)

Since then, however, Mayor Taylor  has not ruled out a run for a full term and has publicly acknowledged considering the possibility. She has initiated several long-term planning processes and appointed a Charter Review Commission. She has told friends and supporters that she has been  "thinking and praying" about her decision, and has increasingly sounded to some of them like she is running.

At least three City Council members, Joe Krier (D9), Mike Gallagher (D10) and Rebecca Viagran (D3) have been strong supporters of the mayor during her interim term, but Krier said Saturday that he is remaining neutral in the mayor's race regardless of who is running.

"I have my own race to run, so I am staying out of it, period," Krier said, refuting reports to the contrary.

A spokesman for Viagran also said she was not endorsing anyone because she has relationships with Adkisson, a political mentor who assisted in her successful campaign challenge to incumbent Leticia Ozuna in 2013, as well as with Van de Putte. Gallagher did not return a call Saturday.

Former Mayor Henry Cisneros, now Chairman of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, said Saturday that Mayor Taylor should not be held to any pledge made before she had the opportunity to spend time on the job.

"As chairman of the San Antonio Chamber I can't make endorsements, but as chairman I want the city to have the most robust possible discussion about our city’s future and who is best to lead us," Cisneros said. "I did make Ivy a promise that if she does decide to run I would come out and publicly state that what she said previously should not be a disqualifier. It shouldn't be held against her. The city deserves a robust election. Voters deserve to choose from among the very best candidates. People like Ivy, she's worked hard at the job, and she has done a good job in her time in office.

Taylor is in New York attending a mayors conference this weekend. Monday is President's Day, a federal and state holiday, but not a city holiday. Mayor Taylor, however, is scheduled to be in Austin that day to meet with other Texas mayors, an annual rite started by former Mayor Phil Hardberger.

If she does make an announcement Wednesday, it will come the same day the Charter Review Commission will unanimously recommend that City Council approve a series of amendments to be added to the May 9 ballot, including council pay. The commission is recommending annual Council salaries of $45,722 – the current San Antonio median family income established by the U.S. Census, and an annual salary of $61,725 for the mayor, a sum equal to the median family income plus 35%.

(Read more: Council Pay to Go to Council Vote.) 

If Mayor Taylor and/or Chan do enter the race, it will make a second round runoff election all but a certainty. Some think Adkisson's presence on the ballot already was enough to send the race into a second round. Mayor Taylor likely would attract many of the voters otherwise inclined to vote for Adkisson.

Taylor would give Northside conservative voters who believe former Mayor Castro politicized the non-partisan office an option other than Villarreal and Van de Putte, both of whom served in the Texas Legislature as elected Democrats. On the other hand, she has advocated for property tax increases to grow the City's General Fund. A proposed property tax increase will not play well in the suburbs.

Chan is far more conservative and would provide another option, although her candidacy would not be taken as seriously as a decision by Mayor Taylor to enter the race. Several Republican donors contacted for this story said Chan should stay on the sidelines if the mayor runs.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said Councilmembers Joe Kier and Rebecca Viagran were among those urging Taylor to enter the race for mayor. Krier and a Viagran spokesman said they are remaining neutral in the race.

 *Featured/top image: Former District 2 Councilmember Ivy Taylor is sworn in as interim mayor of San Antonio in July 2014. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

This story was originally published on Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015.

Related Stories:

Council Pay to Go to Council Vote

Ivy Taylor Sworn In As San Antonio’s First African-American Mayor

Interview: Mayor Taylor on the Police Union, Negotiations and Her Political Future

Mayor Ivy Tests the Political Currents

111 thoughts on “UPDATED: Ivy Taylor Poised to Join Mayor’s Race

  1. Wait, you mean Ivy lied when she said she had no interest in being Mayor beyond her current short term? Wow how shocking. Never would have guessed that(sarcasm intended).

    • Then Ivy is no different than most people that decide to run for office. Very few announce in the beginning that they are going to run. They need to first see how much support and backing they can get. She is a very smart candidate.

  2. I had high hopes for Ivy Taylor, but I haven’t seen her demonstrate much leadership in her short term as interim mayor. Granted she hasn’t had a whole lot of time, but on issues such as ridesharing I thought she had a real opportunity to make a lasting impression. Crickets. And Elisa Chan? Isn’t she the councilmember who tried to defend her homophobic comments as nothing more than free speech? We need to move forward as a city, not backward.

    How about this: we convince Nelson Wolff to run for mayor again, then vote him into office for a lifetime term? He seems to be one of the few local politicians that consistently “gets it”.

  3. “Taylor has committed to her colleagues — and reiterated in an afternoon news conference — that she has no plans to run for mayor in 2015, saying she wants to focus her next several months in office on running the city, not seeking the hundreds of thousands of dollars that would be needed for a citywide campaign.”

    “San Antonio Interim Mayor Ivy Taylor is not planning on running for election. She tells “KSAT” she promised when she applied to replace Julian Castro she wouldn’t seek a term in office. – See more at: http://930amtheanswer.com/news/articles/ivy-taylor-says-she-wont-run-for-election#sthash.APFwDV2C.dpuf

    But I guess when you “leave it up to god” your word means nothing.

  4. I thought Ivy Taylor was basically a Democrat (even though she voted against the NDO, which surprised me). It’s seeming to be, however, that she is more of a conservative Republican — socially, as evidenced by vote on NDO, but what about economically? For example, is she for “trickle-down” economic policies generally speaking? She seems to have some good ideas relating to city planning, which is important right now, but not sure of what her overall approach is to achieving economic and social equity in San Antonio. I would like to know all of the candidates’ plan for achieving economic and social equity in San Antonio (assuming they are for that), and what “economic and social equity” in San Antonio means to them.

  5. No thank you to either of them!!

    And even though I supported leticia van de putte, I have to say no to her too. She went back on her word not to run.

    Mike Mike Villarreal for mayor!!

    • Leticia Van de Putte is the best. We desperately need someone of her caliber, and she has the record of being the best. Lets not get hung up on who said they would or would not run. We would be passing up the best for our state.

  6. Boy, we’re getting candidates from across the widest spectrum imaginable… until now, I didn’t think anyone would be running who I would be less inclined to vote for than Ivy Taylor, but if it were a choice between her or Elisa Chan, I’d ACTIVELY CAMPAIGN for Ms. Taylor!!

  7. The best comment so far is to convince Nelson Wolff to run for mayor again and elect him for life! I also love that idea, except that Carlton soules would have a chance at county judge – ah!

  8. The non discrimination ordinance is going to haunt both of your political career. Any political staff advisor would have told you, but guess what happened. The pool of candidates is going to make this election really tight.

  9. Chan is a right wing Republican and acted as such by hating on the LGBT community.

    Pro Tem Mayor Taylor, who is NOT San Antonio’s 1st African American mayor, Claude Black was, also came out against the LGBT community.

    Carlton Soules is cut from the same cloth as Chan, and the only reason Gallagher is supporting Taylor is so that she can do his bidding. Otherwise, he would say hell no to an African American who has had inner city ties this whole time. Gallagher and Soules’ voting records both show they are ANTI- ENVIRONMENT as typical right wing Republicans.

    NON-partisanship is a myth perpetuated so that both parties can appeal to a broad spectrum and confuse the issues while they accept campaign money from all sides.

    They need to show us their PLATFORMS. Where are they? Why don’t they have them specifically outlined? That goes for Van DePutte, Atkisson, and Villareal. This is how we can hold them accountable, otherwise it’s lip service they can go back on.

    Whether it’s inner city revitalization, equalization of municipal services, LGBT rights, living wage, environmental protection, animal care services, full equal education funding for inner city children, a cap on charter schools, mass transit, they need to tell us, what their substance is.

    On the other hand, if it’s trickle down economics, bringing more low wage jobs in the service industry, funneling students into whatever jobs the private sector dictates, catering to tourism to the exclusion of the residents, privatizing water, favoring suburbia with the best amenities, defunding our public school system, blocking LGBT rights, blocking mass transit, ignoring the stray animal problem to save 1/5 cent on taxes, we need to know that.

    Until then, it’s whose personality is best, whose fundraisers have the tastiest treats and cocktails, and it’s a money and popularity contest.

    • Juana,

      I like your idea of a grid showing how the mayoral candidates stand on the major issues.

      Such a visual representation would be helpful for voters, allowing us to see a side-by-side comparison. In addition, an “issue” chart would force the candidates themselves to be clear and direct about their own views and to put their views on record.

      Those candidates that had “no comment” or “I’ll form a committee” to study the issue would not receive my vote.

  10. As interim mayor, she has the opportunity to show true leadership between the city and the police and fire unions. She didn’t, or hasn’t- and in that aspect I see a lack of true leadership.

  11. Chan hasn’t got a chance, and Taylor’s chances are slim. I look to Mike Villarreal to win since Leticia may still be in the race but I haven’t seen much advertising or heard about any stumping from her. Of all the candidates I have only met Leticia-she’s great ,but the mayor’s position is not a consolation prize; and Mike, I met at a party years ago. He was very nice and had the sort of temperament that is Castro-esque.

  12. Mike Villarreal did not choose to be Mayor second. Please check your facts. He resigned as State Rep, then announced his candidacy. They others LOST an election and then announced their new candidacy for Mayor. You’re wrong. Please correct your comment.

    Received this message from Laura Clark facts Mike chose to waste taxpayers by keeping his NAME on the ballet, then says I’m going to keep my name in the race for Mayor when I should had took myself out of the race/name off the ballets and save’ TAXPAYERS MONEY

  13. I don’t support Taylor but she would be slightly better than Van De Putte she would be San Antonio’s own Sheila Jackson Lee. San Antonio needs leadership that stops wasting money on ridiculous pie in the sky worthless policies instead of taking care of the city. Streets are so bad in some areas some citizens path to home is like a 3rd world country. Jobs for citizens, pay our police and firemen and quit wasting time on policies that divide the citizens that solve nothing.

  14. Ms. Taylor and Ms. chan do not hold views on how I think the future of the city should go or be run….slim picking come voting time is there anyone else ???

  15. Chan was a bad councilperson, and failed to win the support of her like-minded fanatics when running for state office. Only her hubris allows her to run for mayor.

  16. They’re all awful. Totally agree that what is needed is a mayor who will focus on what the city government should be doing instead of using it as a stepping stone for higher office.

  17. Chan has no chance. Taylor couldn’t reel in Sculley and now the city has a mess of a lawsuit against police and fire unions, Taylor has no chance. Atkinson makes people yawn/inspires no one.

    So, now we’re down to two: Leticia Van De Putte will probably be the one left standing.

  18. Mike Villarreal has eaten all his vegetables and taken all the disgruntled constituent phone calls and served enough in San Antonio to be ready for the mayor’s office from the get-go. That has been the trajectory of every good mayor we have ever had. Chan is the homophobe, Taylor doesn’t make enough waves forward, Leticia already showed her hand and we know this would just be another lauch pad for her. Fortunately, the guy who’s left is the right guy for the job. No doubt about it.

  19. Have we set a record yet for the highest number of people running for mayor? If they have a debate and all the candidates show up, will there be more people on stage than in the audience? If most of them run TV ads, will we ever be able to watch any regular shows before the May election?

  20. Random question… How ethical is it to “sponsor” an FB post about a mayor running for office? I would really think hard about that one…

    • Joseph

      The article about Mayor Taylor poised to announce her candidacy and its Facebook promotion is not sponsored in any way. However, mayoral candidates are free to advertise on our site or post sponsored content that is clearly marked as such. –RR

  21. Elisa Chan? Smh. She fired me cause i chose family over my job… O yea and I couldn’t eat breakfast in my office before I was actually on the clock?! Over 17years ago but still…jus sayin

  22. A bunch of disingenuous hasbeens,get out of the way for some new hopefully honest ppl to straighten out the mess ya’ll have us in

  23. I would never vote for Taylor or Chan. They voted against the non discrimination ordinance. I’m not convince Villarreal would be any better. I’m voting for Leticia Van de Putte. She has been a great leader in the State Senate. I think she will continue to be a great leader in San Antonio.

  24. I know or have met 5 of the candidates (counting Mayor Taylor and Ms. Chan). 4 of the candidates and I agree about 80%+ of the time. I had committed to Mike early on. His eloquence, temperament, history in this city, policy priorities, and vision for SA are – imho – what we need for our next mayor. As to Mayor Taylor – whom I’ve known since 2001 – she stated the truth: she did not have intentions for the office then. Having intentions NOW is different: she is experiencing the potential to have a lasting impact and to solidify her policy priorities. She is not coming to this decision lightly, and should not be attacked for a change in this stance – imho.

    • “As to Mayor Taylor… – she stated the truth: she did not have intentions for the office then. Having intentions NOW is different… She…should not be attacked for a change in this stance…”

      When she was appointed to the office, she “vowed not to run for mayor in 2015.”

      Her “vow” was repeated in several media.

      Did anyone force her to take that stance? At the time, couldn’t she have been far more nuanced with her reply – or simply said nothing?!

  25. Agree with a previous post no to ivy Taylor-and heck no to chan! Chan is very hateful and quite frankly out of touch to say the things she said in am previous election. No to all and say why not Tommy Calvert for mayor!

  26. No to Ivy but her previous statements should not disqualify her. I love the idea of Chan running. We are not finished with her and after she made the hateful comments she hid then resigned. We should be allowed to show her at the ballot box how displeased we are. Sweet revenge.

  27. NO WAY !!! She and most of the council members have allowed the city manager do whatever the heck she wants including controlling the mayor and council. We need serious leadership right now!

  28. Oh, how I wish Ron Nirenburg would run. He is the only person on city council (with maybe the exception of Ray Saldana) who has a lick of sense. I love Leticia Van DePutte and I campaigned for her fervently for Lt. Governor. I think she would have made a great Lt. Gov because her moderate style is a good fit for the Texas Legislature. BUT, I do not want her as my mayor. I want the Mayor of San Antonio to be seriously progressive not just middle-of-the-road (that goes for you too Ivy Taylor).

    A great mayor should have a bold vision for the future of the city. That should include upholding the vision of the Decade of Downtown. I have lived in San Antonio off-and-on over the last seven years and I can see how the core of the city is transforming into a vibrant, cosmopolitan place, filled with young people and creative entrepreneurs. This happened because our city leaders set an intention to make it happen: they made downtown San Antonio a priority. But this transformation is far from complete. It is fragile and it can be so easily erased by poor leadership. It takes vision to change a city and to bring so many discordant voices together in unity. Mike Villarreal, can you bring that vision?

  29. No to Chan and Ivy. They did not care about NDO. Is it only discrimination when upon your own group of people?

  30. Van de putte is like a vote for Castro ,wendy davis or Paul elizondo….it’s less about public service and all about self service…so far this city is screwed.

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