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For the first time in more than 20 years, Bexar County will have a new county judge.
Nelson Wolff was appointed to the office in 2001, replacing Republican Cyndi Taylor Krier. Since then, Wolff remained in office, winning five consecutive terms. He announced his retirement in October 2021.
Wolff’s departure leaves some big shoes to fill.
The two candidates hoping to succeed him both have experience in local politics.
Democrat Peter Sakai spent 26 years as a judge, overseeing the court system’s budget and presiding over cases involving drugs, domestic violence and family issues.
Sakai began his career in the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office and then opened his own law practice.
In 1995, Sakai was appointed judge of the Bexar County Children’s Court, where he touts that adoptions of foster children in Bexar County increased by 1,000%.
Sakai was elected to the 225th State District Court in 2014. He left that office last October after Wolff announced his decision to leave office.
He captured the Democratic nomination for county judge by defeating state Rep. Ina Minjarez in the May runoff by 16 percentage points. Sakai was also the top vote-getter in the March primary among a field of four candidates with 41% of the total vote.
Republican Trish DeBerry is a former television journalist who then founded a multimillion-dollar marketing company before turning to politics.
DeBerry managed Ed Garza’s mayoral campaign in 2001 and ran for the city’s top office in 2009, losing to Julián Castro.
She 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.
In her 11 months in office, DeBerry has scrutinized the operations at the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, often clashing with Sheriff Javier Salazar on his department’s purchasing requests and policies.
DeBerry advanced to the November general election after she easily defeated Nathan Buchanan in the March primary by 26% of the vote.