WATCH: Bexar County Judge candidates Trish DeBerry and Peter Sakai face off in forum

Former district court judge Sakai faces DeBerry, former Pct. 3 county commissioner

SAN ANTONIO – For the first time in more than 20 years, Bexar County will soon have a new county judge.

After winning five consecutive terms, County Judge Nelson Wolff announced his retirement, leaving the door open for new leadership. Democrat Peter Sakai and Republican Trish DeBerry are each hoping to be the one who fills that seat.

To help local business owners and other voters weigh the issues and decide who they want to support, the North San Antonio Chamber hosted a candidate forum with Sakai and DeBerry on Wednesday.

The candidates answered questions on several different topics including the economy, infrastructure, transportation and issues at the Bexar County jail.

The Candidates:

On the Democratic ticket, Peter Sakai spent 26 years as a judge. He was first appointed judge of the Bexar County Children’s Court, then elected to the 225th State District Court in 2014. He left that office last October after Wolff announced his retirement.

Republican Trish DeBerry was a former television journalist who then founded a multimillion-dollar marketing company before turning to politics. DeBerry was elected to Bexar County Pct. 3 commissioner — her first political office — in 2020, but she stepped down just one year later when he announced her bid for the top county position.

To help local business owners and other voters weigh the issues and decide who they want to support, the North San Antonio Chamber hosted a candidate forum with Sakai and DeBerry.

Contentious Campaign

On Monday, DeBerry accused personal injury attorney Thomas J. Henry and Bob Wills, the head of the PM Group, the advertising agency Henry uses, of being behind attack ads targeting her.

DeBerry also accused Sakai of “lying” about not having anything to do with the negative ad campaign.

FCC records show it was a Connecticut-based media buying company, ICON International, that purchased the spots for “Friends of Bexar LLC” at the four major English-language news stations: KSAT, KENS, WOAI, and KABB.

DeBerry said she planned to file an ethics complaint and ask the Texas attorney general to investigate.

In a previous statement on Facebook, Sakai said, “I didn’t run a negative campaign in the Primary Election, and I’m not engaging in one for the General Election. That’s my promise to you.”

On Monday, Sakai reiterated his commitment to running a positive campaign and pointed to DeBerry’s own admission that she did not have any documentation linking Sakai to the negative ad campaign.

“As a judge for 26 years and a firm believer in the “Rule of Law”, (sic) it is critical to have concrete evidence when making an allegation,” Sakai wrote.

Read more on KSAT’s Vote 2022 page

About the Authors:

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 25 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.