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After Local and State Primary Elections, Runoffs Emerge

Photo: Mary Tuma, License: N/A

Mary Tuma

Victorious in their Democratic primary elections, incumbent County Judge Nelson Wolff and state Sen. and lieutenant governor candidate Leticia Van de Putte avoid May runoffs—but not everyone was so lucky.

Locally, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and Precinct 2 County Commissioner Paul Elizondo largely glided to victory with 56.9 and 74.9 percent of the vote, respectively, against challengers.

But other races weren’t so smooth.

Oscillating voting numbers had Bexar County District Attorney Democratic candidates Nicholas “Nico” La Hood and Therese Huntzinger at the edge of their seats. In the end, La Hood beat his newly minted Dem opponent by a razor thin 50 votes or 50.06 to 49.94. Now, unless provisional ballots still to be counted at press time change the narrow margin, La Hood faces long-time incumbent Republican Susan Reed in the general, a redux of the 2010 race, where he lost out to Reed by seven percentage points.

A handful of local races ended up in runoffs—most notably, County Commissioner Precinct 4, which yielded both a Dem and GOP runoff. On the left, SAISD board trustee Democrat Debra Guerrero and Eastside organizer Tommy Calvert attracted nearly equivalent vote totals, separated by just one percentage point (we’re talking 25 versus 26 percent) in the open spot made available by Tommy Adkisson’s bid to unseat Wolff. However, securing a victory for Guerrero may be an uphill battle—the former SA city council member was embroiled in allegations that she got too close for comfort with architecture firm Kell Muñoz while the company was contracting with the City. On the other end, the GOP runoff sees two mayors—Timothy Wilson of Kirby and Alan Baxter of Windcrest—fight it out this May.

District clerk Dem candidates Mary Angie Garcia and Elva Abundis-Esparza face each other again in May and whoever stands victorious will challenge incumbent Republican Donna Kay McKinney, uncontested in her primary. And the county clerk race produced a similar Dem runoff between Cassandra Littlejohn and Suzanne de Leon. The winner faces incumbent Republican Gerard “Gerry” Rickhoff in November.

Expectedly, voter turnout was paltry; just 109,430 out of 916,408 registered Bexar County voters showed up at the polls for the primaries, netting a voter turnout of less than 12 percent (a slight decrease from the last gubernatorial primary). And the GOP presence outshined the Dems, taking 59 percent of total votes to 40 percent of Democrats.

Primary battles begin in late May; stay tuned.

Runoff FAQs

When are the runoffs?

Runoff Early Voting Period: May 19-23
Runoff Election Day: May 27

Can I vote in the runoff election?

If you skipped the primary, you can vote in the runoff election but if you voted for one party in the primary you cannot switch over during the runoff. So, if you voted in the Democratic primary and now hope to switch over and vote for all the moderate Republicans in the runoff, or vice versa, sorry!

Why do runoffs occur?

In Texas, if no candidate wins 50 percent of the vote, the two candidates with the highest vote totals must go head-to-head to duke it out one more time.

Where can I find more runoff voting information? (note: the May 27 runoff election is different than the May 10 election, which covers city and school board offices).

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