Roland Andrade, Republican Party nominee for the office of 63rd Judicial District Judge, said early Wednesday he had “lots of different feelings” after unofficial election results were released.
Those results were announced at the county courthouse about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, and Andrade and Val Verde County Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez were the only two candidates on the ballot who stayed to hear them in person.
Martinez was unopposed in his re-election bid, but Andrade stayed to hear the Val Verde County results in his race against Democratic Party nominee, Del Rio attorney F. David Ortiz.
Andrade currently serves as first assistant district attorney for the 63rd Judicial District Attorney.
“We knew from the start that it was going to be a tough race, a close race, and we always joked about it, saying, ‘Well, we’ll win by five or 10 votes,’ but that may actually happen,” Andrade said as he reviewed the unofficial vote totals.
In Val Verde County Ortiz brought in 7,152 votes, and Andrade had 6,831 votes.
A difference of 321 votes separated the two candidates for the seat held by Democrat Enrique “Henry” Fernandez, who did not seek re-election.
The 63rd Judicial District includes two counties in addition to Val Verde County, though, and although Andrade didn’t win his home county, he did emerge victorious after balloting in Kinney and Terrell counties.
In Kinney County, Andrade had a total of 982 votes, and Ortiz had a total of 482 votes.
In Terrell County, Andrade had a total of 300 votes, and Ortiz had a total of 137 votes.
“We have three counties in the district, and unofficially, I won Kinney, and I won Terrell. I am disappointed that I didn’t take Val Verde County, but there’s no regrets,” Andrade said.
“We worked hard. We had a lot of great volunteers here in town, and I’ve got to give them a lot of the credit. We had a lot of prayers, too,” he added.
In voting in the three counties, Andrade garnered an unofficial total of 8,113 votes, and Ortiz had a total of 7,771 votes. As election night turned into the morning after, a total of 342 votes separated the two candidates.
“I’m happy. I’m happy. Maybe by Thursday we’ll know for sure. Good luck to David, and we’ll see what happens,” Andrade said.
Ortiz, contacted by phone later Wednesday, said of the race, “I just want to thank the voters for getting out and voting.”