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Bexar Republicans Oust Controversial Chair Cynthia Brehm; Local Dems Stay Leadership Course

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Cynthia Brehm, who was voted out Tuesday as Bexar County Republican Party chairwoman, speaks at a press conference where she said the COVID-19 was a Democratic hoax. - TWITTER VIDEO CAPTURE / @BUBBAPROG
  • Twitter Video Capture / @bubbaprog
  • Cynthia Brehm, who was voted out Tuesday as Bexar County Republican Party chairwoman, speaks at a press conference where she said the COVID-19 was a Democratic hoax.
Recent months have marked deep divisions inside the Bexar County chapters of both major political parties. However, only one opted for new leadership in Tuesday's runoff.

The Bexar County Republican Party voted by a two-to-one margin to replace controversial chairwoman Cynthia Brehm with real estate appraiser John Austin.

Last month, GOP leaders including Gov. Greg Abbott called on Brehm to step down after she posted on social media that the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police may have been a “staged event” meant to drive Black voters from supporting President Donald Trump.

Brehm also drew national ridicule for holding a conspiracy-laden press conference during which she blamed the Democratic Party for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Austin told the Express-News he'd tried to run a “positive campaign” and harbored no personal hard feelings for Brehm. Even so, he characterized her time in leadership as a “dumpster fire.”

As of Wednesday morning, incumbent Bexar County Democratic Party Chair Monica Alcántara narrowly secured a victory against challenger Grace Rose Gonzales. The incumbent clenched her second term with 52% of the vote.

The local Democratic Party has endured months of disarray as Alcántara battled members loyal to former chair Manuel Medina, whom she defeated in 2018.

Last spring, Alcántara asked the FBI to probe the finances of the party under Medina's administration, saying members of his circle may have committed crimes including money laundering and forgery.

Alcántara's critics argue that she's alienated members by making unilateral decisions, taking end runs around process and attempting to remove officers who disagree with her.

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