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After Bexar County Republican Party Chair Cynthia Brehm shared a social media post including a racially charged conspiracy theory, statewide GOP leaders urged her to resign. She refused.
On Tuesday, Republican voters made the decision for her.
With all 214 precincts reporting unofficial results late Tuesday, Brehm earned 14,265 votes, or 34 percent, of 41,976 votes cast, compared to 27,711, or 66 percent, that went to challenger John Austin.
In the lead-up to the July runoff election, top Texas Republicans called for Brehm’s resignation after she shared a Facebook post in June suggesting that the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd was a “staged event.”
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U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (R-Helotes), Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s spokesman, and Texas Republican Party Chairman James Dickey were among those urging Brehm to give up the post she has held since May 2018. Brehm had previously made unsuccessful bids for City Council District 8 and the mayor’s office.
Brehm did not respond to emails and a Facebook message seeking comment Tuesday. A phone number listed on her campaign’s Facebook page had no voicemail available, and a voicemail left at Bexar County GOP headquarters went unanswered.
Brehm acknowledged her loss in a post late Wednesday morning from her campaign’s Facebook account, stating that she’s a “firm believer that God is in control.”
“As chair, I was required to remain neutral,” Brehm wrote. “I am now free to speak out on who the best conservative candidates are that will uphold our conservative values and the Republican platform.”
After seizing a more than two-thirds lead among early voters, Austin, 52, told the Rivard Report in a phone interview Tuesday he was “very excited” about winning his first elected office. Austin, a real estate appraiser who said a coalition of Republican women’s groups urged him last summer to run, said his goal is to reunite a splintered local party.
“They just need some cohesion, some unity,” Austin said. “That’s been my whole campaign.”
On the Democratic side, incumbent Bexar County Chair Monica Alcántara and opponent Grace Rose Gonzales ran a much closer race, though Gonzales was never able to overcome Alcántara’s lead in early votes.
Alcántara earned 35,469 votes, or 52 percent, of 67,993 total votes, according to unofficial results. Gonzales garnered 32,524 votes, or 48 percent.
Alcántara, 47, a litigation paralegal for 26 years, has chaired the party since winning the seat in a landslide against former chair and former mayoral candidate Manuel Medina in 2018. Gonzales is a designer and granddaughter of West Side community leader and business owner Elena de la Garza.
“I would like to thank everyone for their vote of confidence,” Alcántara said Tuesday. “As a party, we are stronger than ever, and we will work to get each and every Democrat elected in November.”
The 2018 results split the Bexar County Democrats into two factions – those who supported Alcántara and Medina loyalists. The two sides have held dueling meetings, among other signs of infighting.
“Everything that we have done since I’ve been in office is only to better the actual party,” Alcántara said.
Gonzales did not return emails seeking comment late Tuesday.