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Alamo city battleground

"Alamo city battleground" Continued...

Local conservatives believe Bernal’s proposal is a calculated move to boost the political fortunes of his friends: Bernal has a long history with twin brothers Julián Castro, San Antonio’s mayor, and Joaquín Castro, the area’s U.S. Representative in Congress. If the policy succeeds, Julián Castro, who delivered the keynote address on the opening night of the Democratic National Convention last year, solidifies his liberal credentials. If it fails, or if its passage becomes a political liability, Castro can wash his hands of it by blaming the council.

“The mayor has let Diego [Bernal] carry this one,” Soules said. “The mayor’s office is very sensitive to this as an explosive issue.” 

Soules acknowledged he is “outnumbered and outgunned” in a battle that is “national politics brought down to the local level.” He said the Democratic National Committee’s new finance chair, Henry Muñoz, a gay man from San Antonio, has been pouring money into Texas since he took the post in January. Soules said much of the national Democratic party is floating ideas in San Antonio, which he called the epicenter of the battle for Texas: “We’re ground zero.”

Supporters’ willingness to make changes to the ordinance may indicate they agree with their opponents on at least one thing: This issue could have election repercussions in 2014. Soules said Bexar County, in which San Antonio sits, only slightly favors Democrats, making it possible that an unpopular decision could significantly shift the balance of power in the area. That’s especially noteworthy since the Castro brothers’ perceived national ambitions currently hang on maintaining power in San Antonio.

J.C. Derrick
J.C. Derrick

J.C. is a reporter in WORLD's Washington Bureau. He spent 10 years covering sports, higher education, and politics for the Longview News-Journal and other newspapers in Texas before joining WORLD in 2012. Follow J.C. on Twitter @jcderrick1.

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