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Government/Politics

District 123: Bernal and Previtera Head for Run-off

The race to replace Rep. Mike Villarreal in the Texas House isn’t over yet. None of the six candidates captured more than 50 percent of the vote. That means the two front-runners, Democrat Diego Bernal who garnered 47% of the vote, and Republican Nunzio Previtera, with 21%, will meet in a runoff.

Diego Bernal accepted the reality of a run-off early in the evening, but said he liked his position going into the next round.

“We’re gonna have to do it one more time, but I know that we can. It looks like our opponent will be a Republic, which I cannot wait for," Bernal told his staff and campaign workers.

Bernal believes he’ll win the seat and is looking forward to working on "nuts and bolts" issues like transportation and local growth. He says working with Republicans will be the key to success for his constituents.

“I think when we can find common ground we should absolutely go for it. If you’re not willing to work across the aisle, then you’re just furniture," Bernal said. "But I also think there are some bills coming out of Austin that are scary. And we have to draw the line and say that’s not okay and we will not let that pass and that’s part of my job.”

Across town at the Republican Headquarters, Nunzio Previtera said the representative for District 123 should focus on local issues. In his case, he says that’s a population of largely working class people, many of whom are struggling to maintain their homes.

“Doubling their homestead exemption would help that working class person and the senior citizen on fixed incomes," Previtera said. "The other thing is, the number one employer in District 123 is small business. If we can help them stay in business, then they can provide the jobs the people in that district need.”

The runoff promises a tough race. Bernal finished the night with more than twice as many votes as Previtera, but Previtera believes he can pick up the votes that were spread out among the other four candidates to make it a close race.