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DeBerry, Rickhoff In GOP Runoff For Precinct 3 On Bexar County Commissioners Court

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Rob Martinez / Texas Public Radio
Precinct 3 Republican candidates Tom Rickhoff (L) and Trish DeBerry (R)

This post was updated on Wednesday, June 17, at 5:32 p.m.

Tom Rickhoff and Trish DeBerry will face off in the July 14 Republican primary runoff for the Precinct 3 seat on Bexar County Commissioners Court. The winner will face Democrat Christine Hortick in the November general election.

On Super Tuesday, DeBerry trailed Rickhoff with 28% of the vote to his 33%.

Precinct 3 was represented for three terms by Kevin Wolff, the court's lone Republican. Wolff announced in August that he would not seek reelection. 

DeBerry is a public relations consultant and former KENS-5 reporter. She ran against Julian Castro in an unsuccessful 2009 bid for Mayor of the City of San Antonio. She favors "protecting faith, liberty and our 2nd Amenment rights."

Rickhoff served as a probate judge for 17 years and in 2018 lost to Nelson Wolff in a bid for Bexar County Judge. The former judge calls himself a "real Republican" who will move the County in "an open and honest direction."

Both candidates have potential conflicts of interest of concern to voters. For DeBerry, the worry is that her private sector PR business could conflict with her work for the public.

“I’ve said on more than one occasion, if I am blessed enough to get into this office, that I would resign that work, and I would walk away from that work. Period. The end,” DeBerry said.

For Rickhoff, the conflict is closer to home. His brother Gerry won the Republican nomination for Bexar County sheriff in March. Tom Rickhoff said they work independently and don’t agree on everything, so there would be no issue if both were to win in November.

“We’re both strong people. There is no conflict. When Gerry’s wrong, I’m happy to say so,” Rickhoff said.

During Wednesday’s on-air forum, one listener asked candidates what they would do about rising property values in Bexar County.

DeBerry thinks elected assessors are the way to prioritize taxpayers.

“I’m all about giving the taxpayer a voice. And so, when I was blocking pre-pandemic and taking the campaign to the doorstep, I mean, we talked a lot at the doorstep about rising property values, especially in Precinct 3. Precinct 3 pays more than 40% of the property taxes in Bexar County. And it's not enough just to keep the tax rate flat or low,” she said.

DeBerry also said she wants to be on the board of directors at the Bexar County Appraisal District to better represent constituents.

Rickhoff doesn’t think the elected assessors route is the way to go.

“The only thing you can do is adopt the effective tax rate and reduce the revenue. So they're not awash in money to waste on projects that are none of the county's business,” Rickhoff said.

DeBerry and Rickhoff will go head-to-head in the July 14 runoff election. The winner will face Democrat Christine Hortick in the November general election.

What are DeBerry's and Rickhoff's goals for the Commissioners Court? What are the most important issues for Precinct 3 voters?

What plans does each candidate have to reduce the County’s debt? How will they address infrastructure issues and rising property taxes with Precinct 3?

Early voting in Bexar County is June 29 through July 10. Election Day is July 14. More information here.

Guests:

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call  833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org  or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Wednesday, June 17.

Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.