Bud Kennedy

Judge Sinha, a Methodist, target of ‘Muslim alert’

In 2011, Judge Mike Sinha held newly adopted Azan’I Jefferson, 3, on National Adoption Day.
In 2011, Judge Mike Sinha held newly adopted Azan’I Jefferson, 3, on National Adoption Day. Star-Telegram archives

One Republican winner last week wants to know exactly who campaigned for her.

She says she doesn’t want such “ignorant, stupid” help.

Mansfield lawyer Patricia Baca Bennett said Tuesday that she has been unable to identify the author of a Feb. 25 email posted on social media smearing her opponent, state District Judge Mike Sinha of Hurst.

The post is labeled: “Sinha Muslim.”

In five crudely written paragraphs, the sender claimed that Sinha, a United Methodist appointed by Gov. Rick Perry in 2010, “wants to bring Sharia … into our family courts” and used “Muslim poll workers.”

It’s signed with a fake-sounding name: “Alex Jackson.” The address is a vacant storage space in North Richland Hills.

The email return address is the name of a nonexistent group: “Tarrant Values Voters.”

Apparently the sender’s “values” include bigotry, lying, fraud and deceit.

Within four hours after the email was sent, Bennett wrote a Facebook post denying any involvement: “My opponent is a Christian with a pretty amazing Christian walk. … I would never condone disparaging another religion.” She even said she would have it investigated.

I think, unfortunately, my last name was an issue.

defeated state District Judge Mike Sinha of Hurst

On election day March 1, with more than 200,000 votes cast in a record county turnout, nearly every incumbent won.

Except Sinha.

Bennett won with 57 percent of the vote, carrying most of Arlington and eastern Tarrant County. She was endorsed by most Tea Party activists, “values voter” scorecards and also some crossover Democrats.

Sinha is a first-generation American. His father came to the U.S. from Bengal, India, in 1952.

He’s taking the defeat personally.

People are scared of Sharia, but I don’t think they would believe something that stupid.

winner Patricia Baca Bennett of Mansfield

“I think, unfortunately, my last name was an issue,” he said Tuesday.

He did not blame Bennett.

She said the email was “just stupid. And whoever wrote it is stupid.”

To be sure, Bennett outcampaigned Sinha. An artist friend in Red Oak donated $8,000 for her radio ads on KSKY/660 AM.

Plus, Sinha has made plenty of enemies in 15 years of presiding over divorce and custody cases, and some of them spoke out against him.

“But I think that email hurt me more than Mike,” Bennett said Tuesday.

“It was so poorly written. And Sinha is a Hindu name, not Muslim. Mike is a Christian. … I know a lot of people are scared of Sharia, but I don’t think they would believe something that stupid.”

Her website designer couldn’t trace the email, she said.

It may stem from petty Northeast Tarrant County political rivalries. The email also smeared Colleyville City Councilman Mike Taylor, faking an address from a Taylor property.

“I’m stunned. People just have no limits,” said Taylor, a Sinha supporter.

With Donald J. Trump voters thronging the polls, Sinha said his poll workers and family heard the same line repeatedly: “You’re a Muslim.”

“We were called all kinds of names,” he said.

Some values.

Bud Kennedy: 817-390-7538, bud@star-telegram.com, @BudKennedy. His column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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