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Judge Peter Sakai wins Democratic bid for Bexar County Judge as nation reels from Uvalde shooting

Peter Sakai speaks at his campaign event the night of the primary election runoff.
Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
Peter Sakai speaks at his campaign event the night of the primary election runoff.

Former District Court Judge Peter Sakai is the Democrats' pick for Bexar County Judge in the upcoming November election.

Sakai bested former State Representative Ina Minjarez in the Democratic Primary Runoff Election Tuesday night with about 60% of the vote. The two candidates had come out ahead in the March primary and now Sakai goes on to face Republican Trish DeBerry for the general election in November.

Sakai’s watch party at Tony G’s Soul Food on San Antonio’s east side was muted in celebration over grief from the Uvalde. Sakai told supporters his heart was breaking.

“My heart like yours is filled with sadness and grief,” Sakai said. “Our evening cannot be a celebration. But a time for solidarity, a time to join hands, a rise to action.”

Sakai has been a judge for more than 26 years and most recently served in the 225th District Court and primarily focused on cases relating to children.

“It hurts very greatly tonight because I’ve been through this, I’ve seen senseless child abuse, deaths, and one death is too many,” he said.

The focus on winning in November would start in the coming days, he and his campaign said.

The race for a new Bexar County Judge was triggered by the announcement of incumbent county judge Nelson Wolff’s retirement. Wolff, a long-tenured democratic, has served as judge since 2001 when he was appointed to replace the Republican Cindy Taylor Krier. Wolff went on to win every election since then.

The victory puts Sakai up against Republican Trish DeBerry who won her nomination at the end of the March Primary election. DeBerry, the former Pct. 3 County Commissioner, ran for the Bexar County Judge seat after being in the commissioner’s seat for less than a year which she vacated to run for county judge

Overall turnout for the election was low, with about 9.5% of Bexar County’s 1.2 million voters showing up to the polls in either early voting, election day or sending in a mail ballot.

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Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules