Update Thursday, Nov. 20: This post contains updates throughout.
Photo by Alexa Garcia-Ditta
Two weeks following her loss to Houston Republican Dan Patrick in the race for Texas lieutenant governor and after days of whispers in local political circles, State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte announced late Wednesday night that she is officially running for mayor of San Antonio.
In an interview
with local television station KSAT, Van de Putte said she's "coming home."
"For 34 years, I've been listening across the prescription counter, and for 20-plus, I've been listening to this community, and when they call you answer, and I've answered that call today, I'm running for mayor, I'm coming home," she said.
Van de Putte told the San Antonio Express News
that she began receiving calls of support for the position long before her campaign for lieutenant governor was over. She acknowledged in a November 9 statement that local business leaders and current and former local officials were reaching out to her asking her to reconsider running for the city's highest position. Over the last week, she has spent time with family and took shifts at the local pharmacy where she works.
The San Antonio Democrat is expected to turn in her letter of resignation to Gov. Rick Perry today, who will then schedule a special election to fill her old position. She will not vacate the seat until her successor is elected and sworn in. Van de Putte has been a member of the Texas Legislature since 1990, first representing San Antonio in the Texas House of Representatives and then in the Texas Senate for the last eight sessions.
“I know that with my years of experience leading efforts in the Texas House and Senate as well as across our great state and nation, I can lead San Antonio to become the envy of the nation," she said in a press release. "Every San Antonio family and business owner deserves a government that works for them. As Mayor, I will lead with our city council to make San Antonio the best place to grow a business, raise a family, and build a prosperous future."
Like clockwork, other San Antonio politicos responded. This morning, State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, reaffirmed his intention to run for her seat, releasing a statement that he already has the support of others in the San Antonio delegation.
"Visiting with families and community leaders across our city, I am humbled to have the opportunity to carry on the strong tradition of service in Senate District 26..." he said in a statement.
State Rep. Jose Menendez also made his run official
and thanked Van de Putte for her service in the Legislature.
"“I look forward to fulfilling her legacy of delivering a world class education for our students, protecting San Antonio families, creating high paying jobs and honoring our Veterans," he said.
Local mayoral candidate and former State. Rep. Mike Villarreal, who after months of being the only horse on the track now faces a strong contender, told the Current last week
that his campaign would move forward no matter what Van de Putte decided.
"We are 100 percent prepared to take our positive vision for the future of San Antonio to the people," he told the Current. "Whoever ends up stepping forward, we look forward to having a debate about the future."
Villarreal posted the following to his campaign Facebook page after Van de Putte's Wednesday night announcement:
"The San Antonio Mayor's race is on. Here is why we will win: This mayor's race is about electing someone who respects the past but sees the future. It is about electing someone who can offer nonpartisan leadership so that we put San Antonio first. Finally, it is about electing someone who can and will make SA Strong in infrastructure and workforce development."
On the legislative front, former District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal made his campaign for Villarreal's old post official, via Twitter
, of course. Bernal faces Melissa Aguillon, a local marketing and public relations professional, in the race. Aguillon will officially kick off her campaign on Sunday, Nov. 30, at Augie's Alamo City Barbecue Steakhouse.