A heated Democratic runoff race in Texas took a new twist when a county judge candidate turned himself in to police on Monday after being accused of threatening to call the drug cartel on the party's chairman, the Texas Tribune reported.
Party chairman Luis Ruiz told police that Rudy Bowles, who's running for the Maverick County seat, left him a voicemail on Sunday demanding a "list of the judges for each one of the precincts."
"I need to know right away," Bowles, 75, allegedly said in the message. "If you don’t call me within 30 minutes, I am going to call the damn Zetas from across the river and they’re going looking for you, OK. Call me please, I don’t want to have to do that."
Ruiz told authorities he feared for his and his family's safety, according to a police report filed Sunday evening and obtained by The Tribune.
What's the history?
Bowles, a longtime Eagle Pass school board member, and incumbent Maverick County judge David Saucedo have a history that goes back more than 30 years.
In 1982, Bowles defeated Saucedo's father Ramon Saucedo for county judge. Bowles served two terms before losing to a write-in candidate, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
The former county judge claims voter fraud caused him to lose his seat.
Under Saucedo's leadership, Bowles alleges the county has fallen into a "fiscal nightmare."
Saucedo is competing for a third term against Bowles in Tuesday's runoff election.
What does Bowles say about the accusations?
Bowles posted a video on Facebook Monday night addressing the claims.
He assured supporters he's not connected to the Mexican drug cartel and insisted he would be cleared of "all allegations" against him.
"I like to joke around at times, but I do not in any way, shape or form belong to any violent organization and I am not perfect — believe me, by no means — but I also at times make mistakes and I apologize for them," Bowles said. "I’m human, I make mistakes. And I think that all of this is a witch hunt."
Is he still in jail?
According to Bowles' Facebook account, a judge ordered him released on a personal recognizance bond shortly after he was arrested at 7:30 p.m.
After midnight, he posted on Facebook that he was still waiting to be let go.
Where is Maverick County?
Maverick County sits on the Texas-Mexico border near Eagle Pass and about 140 miles southwest of San Antonio. Registered voters are primarily Democrats.