Going into the election, the quest for the Democratic nomination for Bexar County judge appeared to be a tight contest. But the mood of each camp told the story as soon as early voting results came in.
Even though the candidates knew the South Side of San Antonio is traditionally an election-day voting crowd, each seemed convinced of the outcome moments after the early vote tabulations crossed the computer screen at 7:15.
"What a relief," said Nelson Wolff, the incumbent who was challenged for the Democratic nomination by Precinct 4 County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson.
Wolff entered his campaign party at Mi Tierra with a smile on his face, just after early voting totals were returned. He said his 4,000 vote lead in the early totals was too big a spread for Adkisson to catch up.
"Well, it looks very good," Wolff said. "Too early to declare any victory, but with 56.42 (percent), about a 13-point lead, it'll be hard for him to overcome it. But we want to see how today's vote goes. I was out at the polls earlier today and it looked very positive."
Later at Adkisson's office, he seemed resigned to defeat based on the early voting tabulations, but kept watching Election Day numbers come in right through the evening.
"I don't know. The way I'd like to look at it is there's still enough room for a different result than what you might have here," Adkisson said, pointing to tabulations on his computer screen.
But that was shortly after 8 p.m. At the realization that his opponent’s lead might be too wide to catch, Adkisson expressed disappointment that the vocal support he heard from people throughout the campaign didn’t translate into a win.
"People giving you a 'thumbs up,' telling you they're with you, but to have all this positive affirmation and not believe that it can't be manifest in the votes is real hard to believe," he said.
Flanked by state Sen. Leticia Van De Putte, former mayors Phil Hardberger and Howard Peak, and current Mayor Julián Castro, Wolff declared victory shortly before 10 p.m. He said although the two opponents have had differences over the past month or so especially, he hopes for Adkisson’s support in the general election.
"I think we'll be okay, but you know, assuming the vote goes the way it looks now, we'll have to see what Tommy's attitude is. You know, I've supported him in every endeavor he's ever made except this one," Wolff laughed.
"We'll just have to see," Adkisson said. "I think it's up to us. I think we both have thick hides. I think we both probably have small voices around us that we can choose to listen to or subordinate to the larger cause of this county."
Wolff will face former District 10 City Councilman Carlton Soules, the Republican challenger, in the November general election.