A Tuesday night debate between Supreme Court runoff candidates Rick Green and Debra Lehrmann grew openly contentious as the moderator questioned the candidates on their views on recusal, partisan elections, tort reform, and sexual assault cases.

The candidates traded eye-rolls and incredulous head-shakes at the Bexar County Young Republicans event at a San Antonio Tex-Mex restuarant. At one point Lehrmann said current Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson had endorsed her, obviously meaning to name Tom Phillips, his predecessor. Green called her on the error at his first opportunity, saying if that were the case, it would be a violation of judicial ethics.

Green addressed his own murky ethical history, too.

Likening himself to Sarah Palin, he chalked up the complaints to liberal persecution. After Lehrmann pointed out that in her past thirty years on the bench she has never had “one ethical complaint or issue brought against” her and that “every single minute of her day she lives up to that trust,” Green said, pointedly, “they only tackle the guy with the ball.”

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The candidates’ responses to one remark were particularly telling. When the moderator praised their ability to stay within the time limits, he joked, “y'all aren't politicians, y'all must be public servants.”

Green interposed, saying they were “patriots.”

Lehrmann corrected him, saying: “Judge.”

And as he introduced himself to the crowd Green said he'd found inspiration for a new campaign slogan — a line from this Texas Tribune article.

After quipping that the bottled water his campaign was passing out contained “a neurological agent … that will force you to vote for me” — an apparent reference to his past peddling of “memory-aid” FocusFactor — Green described how the “papers are foaming at the mouth, they’re loving to write bad things about me right now.”

He continued:

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"You’re going to find some things almost a compliment, even. Like one of them [that'd be the Trib] said that 'Green is just the Jesus-baseball-and-Thomas-Jefferson kind of candidate that appeals to an electorate in a Tea-sipping mood.' They mocked our values friends, but I’m adopting it as a campaign slogan, I like all three of those things."

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