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County judge candidates clash ahead of election

By Brittany Anderson

The race between Hays County Judge democratic candidates Brandon Burleson and incumbent Ruben Becerra has turned contentious with a legal battle. 

A verbal altercation that allegedly turned physical between Becerra’s wife Monica and Burleson’s mother Rose occurred during a Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial celebration on Jan. 16 in San Marcos. The Burlesons have sought a temporary restraining order and $250,000 in damages. 

Additionally, Burleson has filed a $1 million civil lawsuit against the Becerras, along with two other citizens, for making oral and written defamatory statements about Burleson that allege he sexually assaulted minors.

Individually, Becerra and Burleson have had their share of legal troubles. 

Becerra was fined $500 in December 2021 by the Texas Ethics Commission (TEC) for a campaign finance violation – his third since 2016 – for failing to timely file the July 2020 and January 2021 semiannual reports. 

Becerra’s two previous campaign violations also each resulted in a $500 fine from the TEC. 

In September 2019, Burleson, the founder and CEO of Skylight Party Bus Co., was released from a legal case regarding the death of 20-year-old Texas State University student Jordin Taylor. 

Taylor was found deceased in October 2016 underneath one of the company’s party buses at Cool River Ranch in Martindale. Evidence found that Taylor’s cause of death was having been dragged around 500 feet, not by being hit by the bus; it is unknown how she wound up under the bus. 

Both candidates have released individual statements regarding the January 2022 incidents, with Becerra saying “the matter is in the hands of the justice system, and I trust that they will investigate and adjudicate the matter fairly,” while Burleson said he “would not address lies and a failed attempt to distract from the issues the citizens of Hays County want to hear about.” 

Early voting for the March 1 primary election ends on Feb. 25. Becerra or Burleson will then face Republican Mark Jones, current Pct. 2 commissioner who is running unopposed, in the November 2022 election.

About Author

Brittany Anderson graduated from Texas State University in August 2020 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She previously worked at KTSW 89.9, Texas State University's radio station, for nearly two years in the web content department as a writer and assistant manager. She has reported for the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch since July 2021.

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