A pair of candidates looking to unseat Judge Angus McGinty in the 144th District Court will now square off against each other in the Republican primary following McGinty's resignation amid corruption allegations.
Tanner Neidhardt, a Bexar County assistant district attorney, worked on judicial reform teams in Mexico and Central America before returning to Texas. He said he never thought he'd experience corruption at home.
"It's bad for the community," he said. "This is a terrible result for all of us. It's bad for the judiciary, it's bad for lawyers, it's bad for victims. Think about the victims whose cases were affected because of some sort of favor he was giving."
"I know Angus personally so this saddens me for Angus as an individual and for what impact it may have on the judicial system we have in Bexar county," added Lorina Rummel, a candidate with more than two decades of criminal trial experience.
The FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office are conducting an investigation in Bexar county but declined to release specifics. Sources told KSAT the investigation is based on allegations that McGinty reduced bonds for defendants in his court in exchange for auto repairs. McGinty sent resignation letters to the Texas Ethics Commission and Go. Rick Perry. He cited "personal reasons" in another letter to his constituents.
"It's a concern in the bigger picture for the judiciary and its credibility in our community," said Neidhardt. "People are going to look at this and think this is what judges do because of one judge who was the exception."
Neidhardt said candidates aren't always vetted thoroughly by the public leading to situations like this one. Rummel said her strategy doesn't change now that the incumbent is gone.
"I don't think it impacts my campaign," she said. "I will stay focused on the reason I was running in the first place, my experience and I think I'm the most qualified person for this bench."
"I think this is bigger now than just about coming in and doing the Xs and Os of being a judge," said Neidhardt. "My job now is to restore integrity to this court and I'm happy to do that."