Kevin de León refuses to resign. What happens to his constituents? What happens to the city of San Antonio? And what happens to the voters who elected him?
It’s not the first time in recent memory that San Antonio voters have elected a mayor who, in the face of widespread public disapproval, refused to resign. In 1994, Mayor Bob Bullock, facing an unprecedented corruption scandal, walked away from the city. In 2001, voters elected Rick Perry to lead San Antonio. But Perry soon discovered that he had made some bad decisions as governor and wasn’t sure he wanted to continue in the job. So he took a leave of absence from the job and left office in 2009. Bullock and Perry then returned to serve out the remaining five years of Perry’s term under interim mayor, Edgardo Cortes. When Perry resigned in 2009 — less than two months before his scheduled re-election — voters once again elected Bullock to finish out his term.
When it comes to the issue of mayor’s leadership, voters in San Antonio have done remarkably well over the years at electing presidents from both parties. When a sitting president does serve out a term, however, mayors often find themselves forced to resign, even when they’ve fulfilled their duties. After former President Ronald Reagan was defeated in the 1976 election, he accepted the resignation of his chief of staff and then resigned from the presidency himself. In 1988, George H.W. Bush announced that he would not seek a second term as president in the 1988 presidential election, but he did not serve out his remaining term as governor. Bush then returned to serve out the remaining four and a half years of his term as governor, which began in 1989.
When George H.W. Bush became president after his term as governor, he made clear that he planned to serve as his party’s nominee in the 1988 election. In announcing his candidacy in November 1986, he said, “I am absolutely committed to running for President in 1988. I have great and genuine respect for the presidency. I have also been impressed with how the first President Bush has conducted himself since he became President.”
If the Democrats take the White House in 2008, they will