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Peter Sakai elected the next Bexar County Judge

Peter Sakai declaring victory on November 8th, 2022.
Joey Palacios
Peter Sakai declaring victory on November 8th, 2022.

Peter Sakai, the former children’s court Judge, will trade in the bench for the Commissioner’s Court dais in January. Bexar County voters awarded the Democrat nearly 59% of the vote.

Former Pct. 3 County Commissioner Trish DeBerry, a Republican who vacated her seat to run for judge, received less than 40% of the vote.

The win continued Democratic control of the county’s executive branch that began in 2001, when outgoing County Judge Nelson Wolff was appointed to the seat.

Speaking to his election night supporters, Sakai thanked his supporters for embracing equity and building a community that strives to foster unity.

“As we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow brings: recovering from the pandemic, building a stronger local and regional economy, providing countywide access to health care that includes nutrition to address the issues of diabetes, heart disease and obesity, as well as mental and drug and alcohol rehabilitation.”

Sakai is of Japanese descent and is likely the first Asian-American to hold the Bexar County Judge’s seat.

His victory, along with San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, who is half Filipino, means the two highest elected positions in San Antonio and Bexar County are held by Asian Americans.

Nirenberg, who attended Sakai’s watch party, said he was ready to work with Sakai. He said he looked forward to a strong partnership with him, similar to his working relationship with Wolff.

“[His victory] shows that a positive outlook on our community is not only warranted — it resonates with our city and our voters,” Nirenberg said.

Greg Brockhouse, a spokesperson for the Trish DeBerry campaign, confirmed DeBerry had conceded via text around 9:15 p.m.

Other commissioners court races on the ballot saw Precinct 2 Commissioner Tommy Calvert (D) re-elected to a third term and a likely victory for political newcomer Grant Moody (R) into the conservative stronghold of the Precinct 3 seat.

Calvert said he believes Sakai will be able to bring together various agencies in the event of emergencies.

“The role of county judge …the number one role for it is emergencies, and every child who came before him in the children’s court was in an emergency that matters as we have more climate disasters, as we have more emergencies of all kinds of shootings and different things, because he understands how to bring together law enforcements, health care, non-profits — the whole community apparatus,” he said.

Fellow Democratic Commissioners Rebeca Clay-Flores (D) of Precinct 1 and Justin Rodriguez (D) of Precinct 2 attended Sakai’s watch party as well. They were not on the ballot this cycle.

Sakai will take office on New Year’s Day at midnight.

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