Fort Bend County Precinct 3 Constable Wayne Thompson interjected himself into the U.S. House District 22 Republican runoff election by saying that Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls is not strong on his record of dealing with human trafficking.
Thompson was featured in a television ad by Kathaleen Wall, who is running against Nehls for the GOP nomination for the Congressional seat held by Rep. Pete Olson.
“I’ve seen firsthand how human-trafficking has shattered the lives of Fort Bend families.,” Thompson said in the ad. “As sheriff, Troy Nehls allowed it to get much worse.”
The ad then posts a couple of statements that has Nehls saying that there is little evidence that human trafficking is in Fort Bend County. Then Thompson states that Nehls told the parents of a deceased human trafficking victim that she made a “lifestyle decision.”
“Troy Nehls’ record on human-trafficking is disappointing. He’s no conservative. He failed the families that needed him most,” Thompson says in the ad.
Nehls blasted the TV ad on social media, saying he created a human trafficking task force in the county.
With the runoff election date of July 14 coming closer, the ad is part of a huge TV blitz by Wall, spending over $276,000 to run the ad on Houston broadcast stations and on cable television.
The winner of the runoff between Nehls and Wall will face Democratic nominee Sri Preston Kulkarni in the November election.
A message to Daniel Gribble, Nehls’ campaign manager, was unreturned. But a new section was added to Nehls’ campaign website after the ad was released.
“As Sheriff, I’ve taken extensive action to crack down on human trafficking by closing numerous illcit (sic) massage parlors in Fort Bend County, which are known by trafficking experts to be the number one venue for sex trafficking,” the statement says. It also talks about Nehls establishing a local 24/7 hotline for reporting trafficking and receiving funding to fight sex trafficking.
“In Congress, I will utilize my decades of law enforcement experience to combat it at a federal level and to work to raise awareness of this global threat,” the statement continued.
This isn’t the first time that Thompson and Nehls were at odds with each other. In February of last year, the two squabbled over changes made in the county’s dispatch system by the sheriff’s office, which prevented constables to hear emergency calls even when they are close by, especially in Precinct 3, Thompson alleged.
Nehls said that the changes reduced response times to dispatched calls in the county.
Early voting for the runoff election begins on Monday, June 29 until Friday, July 10.