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San Antonio elects progressive mayor who celebrates Jewish heritage

In campaign focused on immigration and LGBT issues, Ron Nirenberg defeats a better-funded establishment incumbent

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg (YouTube screenshot/JTA)
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg (YouTube screenshot/JTA)

WASHINGTON — San Antonio elected Ron Nirenberg, an insurgent progressive and the son of a Jewish father, as mayor.

Nirenberg, a councilman, defeated Ivy Taylor, the incumbent mayor, 55-45 percent in voting in the south-central Texas city on Saturday. Taylor had establishment backing and outspent Nirenberg in the race.

Nirenberg, 40, celebrated his diverse background while campaigning; his father met his mother while serving in the Peace Corps in Malaysia.

The election was not run along partisan lines, but Nirenberg was seen as a progressive and Taylor as more conservative. Her campaign dubbed Nirenberg “Liberal Ron.”

Campaign issues included law and order and transportation, but national issues such as immigration and LGBT rights also played a role.

Nirenberg emphatically endorsed a 2013 city ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity that Taylor had opposed as a council member when it was passed.

Taylor also would not support a lawsuit against a new Texas law that makes it a misdemeanor for municipal authorities to refuse to cooperate with federal authorities cracking down on illegal immigration. The law is aimed at crippling the sanctuary city movement. Nirenberg backs the lawsuit.

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