Four lawyers run for Republican nomination for 19th district judge seat position

Locals vote for new 19th District judge at the Waco Convention Center. Peter Enoch | Multimedia Journalist.

By Allie Cozette | Reporter

The position for 19th District Judge seat is being vacated by Ralph Strother, a longstanding judge that has had a controversial career and made headlines for his ruling in the Baylor fraternity rape case that occurred in 2016. After his ruling in 2018, a petition was created calling for Strother’s resignation.

Four lawyers ran for the Republican nomination to replace Judge Strother.

West is a criminal defense attorney and has argued that his experience with jury trials is what gives him the upper hand over his competitors. He said he believes that his work ethic and his integrity will make him a strong judge and keep McLennan County safe.

Susan Kelly, criminal defense attorney, also is running to become the next 19th district judge. One of her main points she has made throughout her campaign is that she will not legislate from the bench. She said she wants to hold people accountable for their actions. Her criminal law specialty and experience is why she said she is the best choice to take over for Judge Strother.

Michael Flynn is a retired army lieutenant colonel and believes that his military background is a unique strength and something his opponents do not have. He said his experiences have allowed him to see how criminal law is practiced in other parts of the world, an asset he considers to be very valuable.

DeCluitt is an assistant city attorney for Waco. She has also said that she will not legislate from the bench. She was endorsed by the Waco Police Association and is quoted on the McLennan Republican website saying that she, “…believes in tough sentences for violent criminals and empowerment for victims.” Kristi DeCluitt led the Republican contest for 19th District Judge seat with 32.58% of the total vote, and is expected to head for a runoff with Tom West.