SAN ANTONIO – Before the general election, which will decide who will succeed Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, a competitive Democratic primary lies ahead in March.
In that race, State Rep. Ina Minjarez, former mayoral chief of staff Ivalis Meza Gonzalez, and former district court judge Peter Sakai are all vying to be the party’s candidate. On the Republican ticket, former Pct. 3 County Commissioner Trish DeBerry is likely to clinch the nomination against Nathan Buchanan.
Each candidate comes with political experience.
Minjarez has represented the West Side of San Antonio in Texas House District 124 since 2015. Meza Gonzalez served as Mayor Ron Nirenberg’s chief of staff, earning an endorsement from him. Sakai previously served as the 225th District Court Judge for more than a decade.
Minjarez touted her experience in the state capitol over the past six years. The legislator said her time in Austin has given her “specialized training” that makes her the right person for the office.
“I believe with the skillset I have received and leadership roles I have played at the Capitol, I am ready to come home and lead Bexar County,” she said.
Meza Gonzalez said she’s been involved in politics since she was young girl, going to union event with her parents. Prior to serving as Nirenberg’s chief of staff, she worked for the Spurs and the San Antonio River Authority.
“I have a passion for public service and a mother’s drive to get things done,” she said.
Sakai pointed to his experiences over the past 26 years as a district judge in Bexar County, overseeing the court system’s budget and presiding over cases involving drugs, domestic violence and family issues.
“I’ve made the toughest decisions,” Sakai said. “That’s what the next county judge needs to be prepared for, to confront and resolve the tough issues.”
Though each candidate has racked up different endorsements throughout the campaign, Sakai has led the way in campaign in fundraising. Campaign finance records showed he raised more than $135,000 through the month of January. His opponents only raised around $20,000 during that same stretch.
If the candidates fail to get more than 50% of the vote on March 1, a runoff would be set between the top two contenders for the Democratic nomination.
Whoever wins in November will succeed Wolff, who has held the post since 2001. Wolff announced he would not seek re-election during the 2021 State of the County address.