Republican sheriffs slam challengers of Joe Straus over immigration attack

"Using a grieving father to accuse Joe Straus of a horrific murder committed by a career criminal is deplorable and irresponsible”

The following article was originally published on The Quorum Report.

The top cop in Bexar County, along with the leaders of several law enforcement groups, on Thursday sharply criticized the campaigns of the two Republican challengers to Speaker Joe Straus for trying to connect the incumbent to a "horrific murder." In the face of blistering words from top law enforcement, however, those challengers stood by their original attacks that they say are rooted in the rule of law.

An early morning email from the campaign of Jeff Judson – one of Straus’ opponents – was titled "Is Straus to blame for murder? Judson says yes!"

In that email, Judson said he was reacting to a video paid for by the Young Conservatives of Texas featuring Dan Golvach, who in part blames Speaker Straus for the murder of his son in Houston last year.

A man named Victor Reyes went on a shooting spree in Harris County in 2015 that left two people dead and three wounded. The case was recently showcased in the Texas Tribune, an online news magazine, as part of a border security feature story.

Legal experts told Quorum Report that the bill cited in the political attack on Straus, HB 12 in 2011, would not have made a difference in the case of Reyes, the immigrant who killed Golvach’s son. That’s because Reyes had a long federal record, was paroled on multiple occasions, and consistently crossed back into the United States. In the Reyes case there was no mention of local police picking him only to have him bond out of jail, which is the kind of “sanctuary city” policy HB 12 was designed to address.

"When Joe Straus killed the bill to ban sanctuary cities, he put the life of an illegal alien ahead of my murdered son," Golvach said in the video.

The Republican Sheriffs of both Bexar and Jackson Counties were quick to say the political attack amounts to a twisting of the facts and exploitation of the victim’s family.

"Using a grieving father to accuse Joe Straus of a horrific murder committed by a career criminal is deplorable and irresponsible," said Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau. "No one has done more to secure the border than Joe Straus,” she said, pointing to the $800 million in additional funding for border security approved by The Legislature last year.

Another of Straus’ opponents in the Republican primary, Sheila Bean, sent out a fundraising email seizing on the controversy.

"I almost cried when I saw this," Bean said, citing the video of Golvach. "The momentum continues to shift towards our campaign; as voters learn about Joe Straus' record, they realize how liberal he really is," Bean wrote.

Calling Straus an ally of law enforcement, Jackson County Sheriff Andy Louderback said “Jeff Judson’s and Sheila Bean’s decision to blame Speaker Joe Straus for this tragic crime is appalling and reprehensible."

The San Antonio Police Officers Association was just as blunt. "As officers who have worked closely with the families of murder victims, we find it outrageous that Jeff Judson and Sheila Bean would blame Joe Straus for the acts of a violent criminal," the association said.

Reached for comment, Judson skipped past what law enforcement had said and maintained that his top priority, if elected to the House, would be passage of a ban on “sanctuary cities.”

“Why did Joe Straus kill those bills? Why did Joe Straus appoint Byron Cook to chair that committee year after year?,” Judson asked, referring to the chair of House State Affairs. “The father blames Joe Straus for his son's death,” Judson said. “Straus needs to answer the father, Straus’ constituents and the people of Texas for this.”

A spokesman for Bean said that she also stands by her original statement.

"Joe loves to take credit for the bills that pass, but can't stand it when he is held accountable for bills that he kills," said Luke Macias, spokesman and consultant for Bean. "Leadership goes both ways."

Copyright February 18, 2016, Harvey Kronberg,, All rights are reserved. Republished with permission.


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