The race for the 244th District Judge continues to get heated, with Republican Runoff candidate Cindy Weir-Nutter lashing out with accusations of corruption against the local Republican Party leadership in response to a press release wherein the GOP Precinct Chairs signaled their support for Weir-Nutter’s opponent, Odessa attorney Lori Ruiz-Crutcher.

Ector County Republican Party Chairwoman Tisha Crow issued the following statement in the press release detailing the GOP leadership’s endorsement of Crutcher.

“The overwhelming vote of support by the elected Republican Precinct Chairs of Ector County reflects the superior qualifications Mrs. Crutcher will bring to this important office. The District Courts are some of the most important trial courts in our state, and after a thorough review of the candidates seeking the position, Mrs. Crutcher has gained the confidence and support of our committee, and we believe she will serve our county well with the professionalism, leadership, and a conservative judicial temperament that our community needs.”

The GOP endorsement prompted a series of heavily edited Facebook posts by Weir-Nutter responding to the endorsement, lashing out at the GOP executive committee and Crow, saying she would, “rather lose than bow to their corrupt control.”

“Lol – our best ad yet!!!  The Party will make their decision at the Polls…  This little group’s votes are no more important than your’s and mine – I would rather lose than bow to their corrupt control.  I was actually afraid that after their most recent massive failures attacking Bowen and Landgraf, they would lay low and support my opponent from behind the scenes like they’ve been doing.  Glad it is finally out,” Weir-Nutter wrote in most recent edited version of her response.

It was unclear what “corruption” Weir-Nutter is accusing the Republican Party leadership of having committed.

In previous versions of the post, Weir-Nutter described Crutcher as “Tisha Crow’s candidate.”

The response from Weir-Nutter is the latest in a trend of heated responses from the judicial candidate, going after both her opponent and the local Republican Party leadership.

Odessa Headlines recently reported that Weir-Nutter had messaged two GOP Precinct Chairs, Tim Harry and Jolene Hawkins, threatening a defamation lawsuit against them over references to a past grand jury investigation into the way Weir-Nutter was allocating paid time off as the former Ector County Attorney to the employees in her office.

In addition, Weir-Nutter had criticized Crutcher for taking a neutral stance on the Republican Party Platform and made numerous public endorsements of the Party Platform as a judicial candidate – disregarding a judicial ethics canon requiring neutrality by judges and judicial candidates.

Weir-Nutter also responded to Odessa Headlines‘ prior coverage with a series of Facebook comments, objecting to the characterization in the coverage as “heated,” and made further objections to the coverage, saying the threat of a defamation lawsuit was a “courtesy notice” and that the pieces included in the article regarding the grand jury statement were a “bit one-sided.”

Ruiz-Crutcher also took to social media to respond to the GOP endorsement, saying that she was proud to receive the endorsement from the Party.

“I am proud and excited to receive the endorsement of the Ector County Republican Party as the most qualified candidate with the integrity and professionalism necessary for our courts!”

Early voting in the May 24 Republican Primary Runoff will begin on May 16. Whoever wins the final stage of the GOP nomination will be unopposed and assume office in January 2023.

Matt Stringer is a journalist from Odessa, Texas.