GUEST VIEW: Contradictions, cronyism, and crimes

By Ronnie Lewis

Voters, it’s time to dive a little deeper into the Ector County Republican Party. I’m revealing some information today that I’ve been sitting on since early September. I gain no pleasure from writing this letter. But the arrogance and defiance from County Chair Tisha Crow and her precinct chairs to refuse Republicans of Ector County their right to vote has left me no choice. This information contradicts everything the ECRP portrays about themselves as they speak frequently of their Christian conservative values and principles.

The precinct chairs have all been appointed by each other with the exception of Richard Pierce, who was elected by the voters. There’s a reason why we have elections. When you aren’t elected by voters, you don’t listen to the voters.

Currently this group is denying Odessan Donna Kelm the chance to be on the ballot to challenge Crow, who has spent several weeks stacking the deck of precinct chairs. Kelm must get 10 percent of the precinct chairs to sign for her to be able to challenge Crow.

This is outrageous. But so are many of the antics Crow and her followers have been up to.

Both Mayor Joven and Jeff Russell lost their election to be on the board. Tisha and her appointed precinct chairs didn’t care about the will of the voters and placed them on the executive board anyway. Jeff Russell has ran for election twice. And lost both times. But Jeff Russell was appointed treasurer of the ECRP, and recently appointed as a precinct chair. Mayor Joven was given the title of executive assistant after he lost his election for precinct chair to Pierce. Voters be damned.

Not only was Mayor Joven given a place on the board, apparently so was his mother in law and daughter in law. The precinct chairs love to speak negatively about the good ol’ boys club in Odessa, all while they sit on a board that reeks of cronyism.

Moving on to more serious issues, which are all public records. And, as Jeff Russell commented on his own Odessa Headlines Facebook page regarding Tommy Ervin, “all we did was report the news”.

So, here I am reporting the news.

Let’s look at the Ector County Republican Party sergeant at arms. This is a fairly new position that replaced the parliamentarian. Tisha and her appointed precinct chairs chose a young man who has two arrests including criminal trespass, carrying prohibited weapon and a theft arrest. It’s been said when he was first appointed, those who appointed him gave a set of brass knuckles. Do they think that’s funny? Is this good judgement on the part of Crow and her precinct chairs?

The man pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was fined $300. A Theft of Property $50-$500 case was dismissed after he successfully completed deferred adjudication and a prohibited weapons charge was dismissed after they decided the weapon didn’t qualify for the charge.

The most outrageous decision Crow and her precinct chairs made would be the selection of the ECRP vice chair. He joined the Party sometime around 2019. He was soon catapulted to position of vice chair.

This choice seems to be a total lack of judgment on the part of Crow and her precinct chairs. He had only been involved with the Party a short time. Not long enough to garner any reasonable amount of experience or qualifications. And, according to voting records provided by the Ector County Elections office, he has an almost nonexistent voting record. He first voted in 2020. When appointed, the vice chair had little or no qualifications or voting record. The hypocrisy!

Shockingly, his voting record is minuscule compared to his arrest record. The Ector County Republican Party vice chair was arrested on two felony charges: burglary of a habitation and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He was also charged with interfering with a 911 call, that charge was later dropped.

His arrest record states he entered a home at Manor Park in Midland during the middle of the night and attacked a young women while she was caring for an Alzheimer’s patient. He stole the victim’s phone as she laid in the front yard unable to call 911, the probable cause affidavit states. Thankfully a security guard at Manor Park heard her screams, witnessed part of the attack, and called for help, a probable cause affidavit from Midland states.

The details of the crime are horrendous.

Did Crow or the precinct chairs know about his felony arrests? If I had a wife, mom or sister on that board I’d be outraged! Again, either Crow and her precinct chairs knew about his past and overlooked it, or they showed terrible judgment.

Either way, it’s inexcusable.

The vice chair later entered a plea agreement with the Midland County District Court that placed him on deferred adjudication for five years for both the burglary of a habitation charge and also the aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge. After he successfully completed it, the charges were dismissed thus no convictions show up on his record.

But the late night attack at Manor Park is an image most voters will not be able to move past and the precinct chairs cannot dismiss or deny.

These chairs include a pastor and a church employee. Some precinct chairs will be seeking new offices or re-election including Mark Matta who is both a city councilman and a precinct chair. Precinct chair Jennifer Woodall has announced her candidacy for Justice of the Peace.

Hopefully, they all reflect on their Christian conservative values and realize it’s time to restore the reputation of the Ector County Republican Party and allow Crow’s challenger Donna Kelm her rightful place on the ballot.

All of this and Kelm is struggling to get the precinct chair signatures she needs to challenge Crow. A lifelong and respected Odessan can’t get the signatures to run for county GOP chair. Shameful.

My dedication is unwavering and I will be relentless in stopping the personal attacks on myself, my wife, my neighbor Brooks Landgraf, our sheriff, a judge, city employees, candidates and the many citizens that have also been attacked, intimidated and bullied by the ECRP.

Thank you Ector County for your continued support and encouragement. It’s a movement that’s undeniable.

Ronnie Lewis is a longtime Odessa businessman who founded Dos Amigos.