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A Rematch Of Old Friends May Be Brewing In Senate District 26

Shelley Kofler
TPR News
Trey-Martinez Fischer and Jose Menendez during a debate at the TPR studios.

Two San Antonio Democrats who beat each other up in an election to succeed state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, may be getting ready to face off again.

Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer and Sen. Jose Menendez both say their fundraising for a possible March rematch is off to a good start.

If anyone thought the February runoff between Jose Menendez and Trey Martinez-Fischer settled the bitter battle between two friends, over who would represent Senate District 26, they were wrong.

Menendez won by 18 points and moved from the House to the Senate.  Martinez-Fischer went back to the Texas House, but the campaigning continued.

On Wednesday, as office holders filed required finance reports, Martinez-Fisher contacted reporters to let them know he raised $200,000 in nine days last month.  And, yes, he’s considering a run to unseat Menendez early next year.

“I’m seriously considering it. It will be a much different electorate in a March Democratic primary.”

Menendez raised almost as much money as Martinez-Fischer last month. He lists just over $189,000 on his finance report. 

In the special election to finish Leticia Van de Putte’s unexpired term,  voters in the first round chose from five Republicans and Democrats who were listed together on a single ballot.

Next year Republicans and Democrats will each elect a Party nominee.  Martinez-Fischer says Menendez beat him with votes from Republicans who won’t be casting ballots in their party’s primary.  

“In a Democratic primary that’s a different dynamic. I maintain strong Democratic values.  I think they’re San Antonio values. They’re working family values,” he said.

Menendez counters that he wouldn’t have racked up a double-digit win with Republicans alone and he’s already getting commitments from traditional Democratic groups.

“You can take out all the Republican voters and he still loses.  The traditional large Democratic groups- I’ve been talking to many of the labor leaders, they’re with us; the teachers’ groups are with us; police and fire are with us,” Menendez said.

Both Democrats are ready to talk about the important bills they passed in the recent legislative session and the money they got into the state budget to support San Antonio projects.  And they’re sticking to the themes they’ve used before.

Martinez-Fischer stresses his reputation as a fighter who’ll use parliamentary rules to give his minority party a voice.

“Coming into the chamber they recognize this is somebody who will use every page in the rule book and every ounce my influence to balance the discussion.”

Menendez says he’s a nose-to-the-grindstone kind of guy who can work across the aisle and get things done.

“I’m not going to sit here and say he (Martinez-Fischer) did a bad job. I’m going to say I did an incredibly good job, so why would you want to change.”

Martinez-Fischer says he’s talking to voters as he decides whether to give up his relatively safe House seat, for a rematch with Menendez.