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Salazar Wins Sheriff's Office In Election Day Vote Turn-Around

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Jan Ross Piedad
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Texas Public Radio
Javier Salazar celebrates his a victory as he speaks to supporters

Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau was unseated in a stunning turnaround Tuesday night.  Democrat and San Antonio Police Sgt. Javier Salazar defeated her by about 1 percent. The sheriff began with a lead that disappeared as the night went on.

At the Bexar County GOP headquarters, Sheriff Susan Pamerleau was optimistic as she held a slight lead over Salazar early in the evening.  The Libertarian and Green Party candidates were way behind with just several percentage points each.

“Four years ago there were only two, the incumbent and myself. This year there are four in this race so that puts on a different dynamic,” Pamerleau said.

But Pamerleau’s 10,000-vote lead dwindled and the scales tipped to a 3,000 vote lead for Salazar. And late into the evening Salazar, a 23-year officer with SAPD, declared victory.

“We’re going to work with our community and with outside law enforcement agencies to make Bexar County a safer place to live, work, and play, guys,” he said.

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Credit Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio
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Texas Public Radio
Sheriff Susan Pamerleau heads to a private room during the election night watch party after the vote tips in Salazar's favor.

Bexar County GOP Chairman Robert Stovall credited Pamerleau's loss with a surge in straight ticket voting that favored democrats.  “That means the people did pay attention to the down ballot races. They just went in there and pushed the straight democratic ticket  regardless if Susan was doing a good job or a great job,” Stovall explained.

Pamerleau was the first woman elected as Bexar County sheriff.  She left the election party without conceding the race.   A spokeswoman for her campaign said Pamerleau would make a statement Wednesday afternoon.