Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report
Trey Martinez Fischer claimed victory Tuesday night in a tightly contested battle with State Rep. Diana Arévalo that ended with a 115-vote margin between the Democratic primary candidates for Texas House District 116 after all precincts were counted.
With 4,742 votes, or 50.6 percent of the final tallies, Martinez Fischer celebrated with his supporters as the final results were published late Tuesday night.
He said he was grateful for the support in a "hard-fought race."
“Every election is always a very humbling experience,” Martinez Fischer told the Rivard Report after midnight. “Putting yourself before voters and letting them choose who is best to be their voice, it’s always an experience that’s overwhelming. I feel proud and grateful to be the person who’s come out on top.”
Martinez Fischer said in the near term he will settle back into a normal routine after a grueling campaign, and then he will begin preparing for the general election.
"If things go my way tomorrow I’m looking forward to having lunch with my children at their school," he said.
Arévalo and Martinez Fischer hosted watch parties at Jacala and Los Cocos Mexican restaurants, respectively, as results were announced.
Martinez Fischer, a veteran lawmaker who made a name for himself using parliamentary procedure to block Republican-backed bills, challenged incumbent Arévalo just two years after vacating the seat to run for the Texas Senate.
Martinez Fischer, who has been on the campaign trail since November 2017, said he aims to make strides in public education and healthcare access if he is tabbed in the November general election.
Speaking to supporters at her watch party earlier in the evening, Arévalo thanked all the volunteers who worked on her campaign and urged them not to give up until all the results were in.
“Don’t give up on us now,” she said. “It’s just like the Spurs game in the last quarter. Y’all don’t give up on your Spurs.”
In Arévalo's first term, the liberal Legislative Study Group Caucus named her "Freshman of the Year," and her re-election bid garnered support from public figures such as former State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte.
“Everybody knew this was always going to be a close race, and it’s a nail biter,” Van de Putte said while awaiting results at Jacala. “Diana ran a really good race, but we also know that her opponent held this seat for 16 years and is a well-known name. In fact, she is the incumbent, but it is a really, really strong, competitive race.”
Van de Putte applauded Arévalo for authoring the only school finance bill of the 85th Legislature and said she had a great first session.
“I saw her in action in the Legislature," Van de Putte said. "She treated each of the constituents from San Antonio with such dignity and respect.”
In his comeback campaign Martinez Fischer out-raised the incumbent, according to financial contribution reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission. Martinez Fischer raised about $188,000 and spent $146,000. His opponent, meanwhile, raised approximately $169,000 and spent $136,000.
Martinez Fischer also earned the endorsements of 17 sitting members of the State House of Representatives, according to the Texas Tribune.
In addition to Van de Putte, Arévalo earned the backing of organizations such as the San Antonio Board of Realtors, Annie's List, Planned Parenthood, and two teacher associations.
Martinez Fischer, a 47-year-old attorney, served in the House District 116 seat for 16 years before leaving to seek the Texas Senate District 26 seat José Menéndez (D-San Antonio) has occupied since 2015. Martinez Fischer ultimately lost to Menéndez in the 2016 Democratic primary by a nearly 20 percentage-point margin.
The District 116 map covers San Antonio's northwest corridor along Interstate 10 bounded by West Commerce Street to the south and Loop 1604 to the north. A Democratic stronghold, the District 116 seat has not been held by a Republican in more than 100 years, according to the Legislative Reference Library of Texas.
Fernando Padron is the sole district resident to file as a Republican in the race, according to the Texas Secretary of State's website. He will face Martinez Fischer in the November general election.