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Bexar County Runoff Election Results: GOP Chair, Longtime County Commissioner Unseated

Two voters head into the polls for the Bexar County primary in March. Voting will be much different for the July 14 runoff, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lauren Terrazas | Texas Public Radio
Two voters head into the polls for the Bexar County primary in March. Voting will be much different for the July 14 runoff, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

There were 10 local runoff races in Bexar County for the July 14 election. According to the elections department, more than 100,000 registered voterscast ballots during early voting and on Election Day.

With all early ballots, some mail-in ballots and all 214 vote center ballots counted, here are the results for Bexar County races:

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Cynthia Brehm, the incumbent Bexar County GOP chair, faced defeat in the Runoff Primary Election. She gathered about 33% of Republican votes by early Wednesday morning. She was the underdog against challenger John Austin, who bested her on Super Tuesday by 100 votes. In the runoff, he received more than 10,000 votes more than Brehm.

Brehm had a tumultuous history as GOP county chair. Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas GOP state chair, James Dickey, both called for her to resign after she posted a conspiracy theory about George Floyd’s death. She also claimed COVID-19 was “promulgated by the Democrats to undo all the good that President Trump has done for our country,” and then encouraged people to “take off your masks.”

Her term has been bookended by controversy. Shortly after she took office, news broke of her husband's history of sexual abuse.

In a brief election-night interview with Texas Public Radio, John Austin didn’t address Brehm’s problematic past. He said he hopes to work with her and her supporters. 

“We have a lot of healing to do,” he said. 

  • Precinct 3 County Commissioner (R): Tom Rickhoff or Trish DeBerry

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Trish DeBerry won the Republican Primary runoff for Bexar County Commissioner Precinct 3 with 54% of the vote Tuesday night. DeBerry, a public relations CEO, will move onto the November election

She defeated Tom Rickhoff, a Bexar County probate Judge for the open seat commissioner’s court being vacated by Kevin Wolff. The precinct is in northern Bexar County which has typically been a Republican stronghold. DeBerry, who owns the PR agency the DeBerry Group, said she wants to bring private sector experience and solutions to the court.

“Whether its diversity on the court, whether its term limits regarding county commissioners, whether its campaign contribution limits — it’s been a little but like the wild west at the county, and I think its ripe for change,” said DeBerry.

In November, she will face Democratic attorney Christine Hortick for the seat. If either one of them wins, it will ensure a woman will be on the currently all-male Bexar County Commissioner’s Court.

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Monica Alcántara took 52% of the vote against challenger Grace Rose Gonzales as of midnight on Wednesday. The primary was contentious.

Alcántara first won the position in 2018, replacing controversial former chair Manuel Medina. She said a “small fraction” of the local party remains loyal to him, but she believes the perception that the party is fractured is mistaken. 

“The party as a whole is united, and I think that's where the misconception is,” she said. “There's a small fraction that has broken off and, I'm willing to say, ‘Hey, come back. Be a part of the process. Let's all work together.’”

  • Precinct 1 County Commissioner (D): Sergio “Chico” Rodriguez or Rebeca “Becky” Clay-Flores

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In a surprise victory Tuesday night Rebeca Clay-Flores unseated a 16-year incumbent on the Bexar County Commissioners court with 61% of the vote. If she wins in November, Clay-Flores could be the first woman of color ever on commissioner’s court.

Clay-Flores unseated long-time Precinct 1 Commissioner Sergio “Chico” Rodriguez who initially led the vote in the March Primary.  The commissioner’s court has only had two women elected to it in recent memory. Clay-Flores is a special projects manager with San Antonio Metro Health and previously worked in the office of former San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor. She says she wants to be accountable to the people of Bexar County’s South Side.

“Precinct 1 deserves a committed county commissioner who’s going be present, who’s going to fight for resources for us, who’s going to have the best interest of the constituent,” Clay-Flores said.

Precinct 1 is a strong Democratic district. In November, Clay-Flores will face Republican Gabriel Lara, who is a retired paramedic.

  • Precinct 2 Constable (D): Ino Badillo or Leticia R. Vazquez

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Bexar County Precinct 2 Constable Leticia Vazquez will get a chance at keeping her seat after winning the democratic primary runoff election Tuesday night. Vazquez was appointed as constable last October following the automatic resignation of embattled former constable Michelle Barrientes Vela when she announced a run for sheriff. Vela was ultimately indicted on charges of official oppression and tampering with evidence.

Vazquez says she believes she has earned voters' trust for a full four-year term.

“Those votes speak volumes because they are noticing that I am trying to make a difference there. That I have made a difference, that I did bring integrity back. The most important thing for me is the community and my staff, and I’m glad that they see that.”

Vazquez will take on Republican challenger Charlie Peña Jr. in November.

  • Precinct 4 Constable (D): Kathryn Brown or Mike “Chief” Ramirez

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Kathryn Brown defeated Mike "Chief" Ramirez with 68.9% of votes. Brown opened with a large lead and secured the nomination on Tuesday. She will face Republican Larry Ricketts in the November election. 

Additionally, candidates in Precincts 1003, 1021, 1087 and 2029 are vying to be Democractic Precinct Chairs:

  • Precinct 1003 Chair (D): Roberta Nina Hassele or Juan Diego Medina
  • Precinct 1021 Chair (D): Rosa Vasquez Sanchez or Elizabeth F. Limon
  • Precinct 1087 Chair (D): Diana Espinoza or Esmeralda Rodriguez
  • Precinct 2029 Chair (D): Rocky Aranda or Stephanie A. Perez

Results for state and federal races can be found here.

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