A day before early voting began, Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace candidate Matthew Stringer posted on his personal Facebook page deriding an advertisement run by his opponent, Missi Walden.
“Well the opposition is in total desperation today,” the post stated. “I am sorry but throwing a list of her supporters riddled with leftist Democrats and disgraced former hospital board members at me to gain the Republican nomination probably isn’t the best strategy. I will continue to focus on my superior knowledge of the law, and my platform to bring leadership, accountability and diligence to this office!”
Not long after he posted the statement, which received a handful of likes and shares, he deleted the post.
Walden said she didn’t want to comment on Stringer’s reasoning for taking his post down. “I’ve tried to keep it positive and focus on the candidate and the issues and not the negative things,” Walden said.
Stringer, when contacted by the Odessa American about the post, said it was sad that there is a story “coming out of this” and said he is the only “involved Republican” in the race and that he is frustrated because she had Democrats on her list of supporters.
Walden said that she has been a member of the Ector County Republican Women’s Club but can’t always attend their meetings due to her full time job as court coordinator.
“It’s true that he has been much more involved in the local Republican party than me, but that doesn’t change that I’m a Republican,” Walden said.
The campaign advertisement Walden ran featured a long list of “proud Walden supporters” including some Democrats. Stringer said he would prefer Democrats stay out of Republican primaries.
Walden said that, compared to how long the list was, there were not many Democrats listed in support of her.
“The ones that I’m assuming he’s talking about are attorneys who I’ve worked with over the last 27 years and that know me and know my work history and my experience and that’s why they’re supporting me,” Walden said.
The former hospital board members Stringer referred to supporting Walden were Judith Hayes and Virgil Trower. Walden said she didn’t agree with Stringer calling them “disgraced.”
“I think they’re both upstanding members of our community,” Walden said.
Stringer also complained about Walden supporters commenting on his posts about his lack of business experience.
Stringer said he took down his post deriding Walden’s advertisement shortly after he posted it because he thought it detracted from what he has called a better knowledge of the law.
Walden said she was unsure why he would think he had a superior knowledge of the law to her since she has worked in the legal field for more than 27 years.
“I don’t agree with him,” she said. “I guess he can say whatever he wants, but I disagree.”
Also listed under Walden’s supporters were multiple former justice of the peace candidates who lost to Walden and Stringer during the primary: Jet Brown, Gary Dunda and Marvin Jennings. Walden said she received their support after talking with them.
Both candidates also turned in their final campaign finance reports for the runoff on Monday. Stringer raised $7,075, nearly doubling Walden’s campaign contributions, which totaled $3,500 from Feb. 25 to Saturday.
While Stringer raised more during the runoff phase of the election, Walden raised more in total since she began running before the primary, raising a total of $11,200 compared to Stringer, who raised $10,845.
Of both candidates’ total contributions, Stringer had 10 contributors who did not live in Odessa, and Walden had two from Midland and one from Monahans.
Stringer said that many of his outside donors were close friends.
Early voting ends Friday at 7 p.m. Election Day for the runoff is Tuesday, with polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Whoever wins the runoff will be the de facto winner, as there is no Democratic challenger for the position.
- Last day of early voting: 7 a.m to 7 p.m. Friday.
- Election Day: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 22.
- Ector County Courthouse Annex, 1010 E. Eighth St.
- MCH Primary Care, 6030 W. University Blvd.
- Westlake Hardware Store, 4651 E. University Blvd.
- Odessa College Sports Center, 201 W. University Blvd.
- Family Health Center, 840 W. Clements St.