by BRAD ROLLINS
The race for Hays County’s top law enforcement office took a public turn for the ugly this week when an audience member at a candidate forum accused Sheriff Tommy Ratliff of breaking his ex-wife’s collar bone during an altercation more than 20 years ago.
Walter Kinney, a Dripping Springs resident whose wife Linda Kinney is a recent Hays GOP chair, lobbed the accusation before a crowd of hundreds during Ratliff’s debate with Republican nominee Gary Cutler at a San Marcos Area League of Women Voters event on Monday.
Taking the microphone during an open question and answer period, Kinney said, “It has been … confirmed that you were involved in an altercation with your ex-wife, that she sustained a broken shoulder and was sent to the hospital, and that you were subsequently transferred out of Pampa, Texas, and reassigned to Central Texas. My question is, how can you expect the voters of Hays County to support you … with this type of background?”
Calling it a “complete lie,” Ratliff forcefully denied the charge several times, even returning to the subject during his response to an unrelated question. Ratliff did not return messages left for him at the sheriff’s office on Tuesday.
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