Texas Public Radio | By Paul Flahive Published May 6, 2023 at 9:41 PM CDT
With the endorsement of more than a half dozen former District 10 office holders, Marc Whyte cruised to an easy victory Saturday night in the sole conservative district.
The attorney beamed with pride as the numbers told him it was unlikely he would be in a runoff race against any of his six opponents. He demurred in the face of overwhelming evidence that he was the area’s pick after capturing 60% of the early vote.
“Let’s just wait till all the votes are in,” he said.
Whyte’s inner circle had told him his victory on Election Day was likely. But given the number of candidates in his race, he said he dismissed the idea that he wouldn’t be campaigning into June.
Perhaps he didn’t want to jinx it. Whyte suffered a loss in the Republican primary for Joe Strauss’s Texas House seat in 2018.
But, ultimately, the victory came. It was a rare example of an open seat being won without a runoff.
Outgoing District 10 Councilman Clayton Perry was expected to run and win the seat again. But all that changed last November when he imbibed 14 drinks in a few hours and smashed his Jeep Rubicon head-on into another vehicle. He then fled the scene.
Body-camera footage released by the San Antonio Police Department likely sank any chance of him running — the bleeding councilman was found lying in his backyard and struggled to answer basic questions. His Jeep, with the driver’s door left open, was still running in his driveway.
He later pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor criminal charges, serving no jail time.
Whyte, 43, was bolstered by the endorsement of eight previous District 10 council representatives. Several of them, including John Clamp, James Hasslocher, Carlton Soules, Lyle Larson and Mike Gallagher, took the additional step of donating to his campaign.
“He is going into the job already with the experience that a councilman needs,” said Gallagher, who was at Whyte’s watch party at the Barn Door. Whyte has served on multiple council committees, including Zoning and the Ethics Review Board.
Former Bexar County Commissioner Trish DeBerry and former District 9 Councilman Joe Krier also donated.
Krier, also a former CEO of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, has for years spoken about Whyte as the future of a more business-friendly conservative politician in the overwhelmingly progressive San Antonio City Council.
Whyte’s other campaign donors reflected a who’s who of that community, including Ed Whitacre, a former GM and AT&T chairman, Hope Andrade, restaurateur Louis Barrios, and April Ancira.
“This seat has always been one that stood up for small businesses,” said Whyte, commenting that the business community support played a role in his victory.
He has described himself as a common-sense conservative and plans to target small business, lowering taxes, and crime prevention as his interest areas.
“The number one job of a city councilman is to keep the city safe,” he said.
San Antonio Safe PAC, the business-backed political action campaign fighting Proposition A — which expanded cite-and-release, decriminalized abortion, and marijuana — was present at Whyte’s party. Prop A, or the Justice Charter, was defeated in a landslide on Saturday, losing three to one.
“Thank goodness. Proposition A was absolutely a terrible idea for San Antonio,” he said.
As essentially the sole conservative on the council — a council that has become increasingly progressive the past four years — Whyte will likely find himself often at odds with his council colleagues. Former councilman Gallagher — who served in the same role — gave some free advice: Be nice.
“You have to find ways to negotiate with your council colleagues,” he said. “It’s amazing how they will support you if you do it in a civil manner.”