San Marcos High School teacher Stephen Herrera publically announced Sunday his withdrawal from city council elections.
Herrera said he “hit a brick wall” during his campaign after hearing feedback from some constituents. Herrera said some citizens thought he only joined the race to split the Hispanic vote between himself and opponent, Frank T. Arredondo.
“I don’t have the political support behind me to defend myself against that and simultaneously be the best teacher I can be,” Herrera said.
Herrera said his opponents, Arredondo and Scott Gregson, are prominent members in the community. Both opponents have an extensive resume of credentials for the open seat on the council, he said.
“I probably haven’t really been as proactive in joining committees as I probably should have,” Herrera said. “I think that is one of the reasons a lot of the people in the community thought I was not serious about (running).”
Herrera single-handedly ran his 20-day campaign. He approached canvassing with a door-to-door style and personally sat down with 180 people.
“I was a bit brash in thinking I could jump into this headlong,” Herrera said. “This is something I think I’d like to revisit with a better game plan—particularly building up support for myself before I run. “
Herrera’s political experience is largely academic, he said. He wants to focus on becoming more active in the community and building a base of support.
“I have great ideas, but it’s hard when the tide is fighting you so difficulty,” Herrera said.
Herrera said poverty is a steep issue in San Marcos and he wants to invest in building a middle class.
“Apartments are not a bad thing or the enemy,” Herrera said. “We need projects where we develop homes.”
Homes are necessary to develop a community and create a sense of belonging juxtaposed with the transient population of apartment dwellers, Herrera said.
“It’s our responsibility to shape what we want to do and teach our kids government is something within grasp for them,” Herrera said.
Gregson said the direction of his campaign will not change as a result of Herrera’s withdrawal. Gregson hopes to gain the support of Herrera’s voter base.
“I find him to be a bright young man, and hopefully he will continue to be interested in taking political office,” Gregson said.
Arredondo said his campaign strategy will remain the same as well. Both candidates wished Herrera their best regards in his future political endeavors.
“I told him if in the future he wanted to continue this, I would be more than happy to visit with him,” Arredondo said.
Herrera is unsure of when he will run again or what is next for him regarding his political career.
“I’ve always thought government was something to be revered,” Herrera said. “People need to go out and try at least. And even if you fall flat on your face, like, you know, what I’m doing right now, it’s something you should definitely try.”
Follow Alexa Tavarez on Twitter at @lexicanaa.