Sheriff Salazar and Rickhoff To Face Off In November | Texas Public Radio

Sheriff Salazar and Rickhoff To Face Off In November

Mar 4, 2020

As of 3:30 a.m., all county results were available but were not tallied accumulatively. 

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar easily finished at the top in the Democratic primary this Super Tuesday, and former longtime Bexar County Clerk Gerry Rickhoff finished on top of the field of Republican sheriff’s candidates.

Salazar as Democratic nominee for sheriff

Salazar jumped out with a big lead and didn't look back. The incumbent has been dogged by problems at the county jail, including accidental inmate releases and overtime pay due to continuous staffing shortages. But it did not seem to hurt him at the polls. 

Salazar says staffing is a problem nationwide.

“We’ve got the same issues, overtime issues that continue to plague not just us, but every other major law enforcement agency in the country, and we are also seeing and we are getting hit a bit here, but not as much as other parts, but that national hiring crisis that everyone is having,” Salazar said.

Salazar thanked voters for his big win at his watch party at the Backyard on Broadway.

“We’re just so thankful to the voters of Bexar County for supporting us to this point.  They see my vision and they agree and I can’t be more grateful.”

Salazar’s defeated foes include indicted former constable Michelle Barrientes Vela who faces trial for aggravated perjury and fabricating evidence.

Rickhoff and Ng have strong showings in Republican primary

Despite having no law enforcement experience, former Bexar County Clerk Gerry Rickhoff finished at the top of the GOP field for sheriff.

He believes his years as a county administrator would be useful for the sheriff’s department and the often troubled county jail.

Bexar County Clerk Gerry Rickhoff
Credit Provided

“I see that as an asset. I don’t come from that point of view. I’m gonna have unique programs. I believe my administrative skills and my education skills can make a turning point in society," Rickhoff said.

Former San Antonio police officer and chief criminal investigator for the district attorney’s office, Willie Ng, had a strong showing too. Ng says he could straighten out problems at the county jail by listening to the rank and file.

He says the sheriff does not listen to them.

“A lot of boots on the ground have made recommendations that changes are necessary and he does not allow those changes.  He allows his command staff to make those decisions and the command staff don’t know themselves and don’t have enough institutional knowledge of the organization," Ng said.

A campaign aide says Ng’s campaign was neck-to-neck in fundraising with incumbent Democratic Sheriff Javier Salazar.

Salazar won by 54% and Rickhoff by 52%. There will be no runoff election, and the candidates will face each other in November.

 

Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at Brian@TPR.org and on Twitter at @TPRBrian.