SAN ANTONIO – At a midday press conference incumbent Susan Pamerleau conceded the race for Bexar County sheriff to challenger Javier Salazar.
“The outcome of the race is evident,” Pamerleau said. “I want to congratulate Javier Salazar on a strong race.”
Pamerleau said she spoke to Salazar Wednesday morning.
The sheriff noted that she won more votes in 2016 than in her winning election bid in 2012, however, “(It) was not enough to overcome the tsunami on the top of the ballot,” she said.
The race went down to the wire, with only a few thousand votes separating the candidates.
With 100 percent of the votes counted, Salazar won 278,102 votes with Pamerleau garnering 273,914 votes.
Pamerleau also thanked Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, the Commissioner’s Court and the sheriff’s deputies she said she was privileged to lead.
The sheriff also said she was committed to working with sheriff-elect Salazar on a smooth transition on the nation’s 11th largest sheriff’s operation.
“Thanks again for this opportunity,” Pamerleau said, before taking questions from reporters.
Pamerleau said she will work with Salazar during her remaining 50 days in office, as the Sheriff's Office transitions under his leadership.
After eating a victory breakfast at Mi Tierra Wednesday, Salazar is already talking about the job ahead.
“Throughout the debates, we mentioned a lot the morale and manpower issues,” he said. “First and foremost, I need to work on those internal relationships with the rank and file within the Sheriff’s Office.”
But before the goals comes the glory.
"Right now, this victory looks like its going to be a sweet thing, so we're just enjoying it right now,” Salazar said.
During Pamerleau’s concession she became visibly moved when remembering some of the perhaps smaller, but most impactful, moments of her time as sheriff.
“Somebody comes up to you and says, 'Because of your story of being in an abusive marriage, I left my abusive husband and I’m alive today,'" she said, fighting back tears. “It's those kinds of things that made a difference.”