An attempt by Texas Republicans to do in the courts what they may not be able to do to Democrats at the ballot box in November has been thrown out by a Texas judge.
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A suit filed by Republicans in January sought to have more than 80 Democrats – many of them minorities – stripped from the midterm elections ballot on trumped-up charges that Carol Donovan, the chairman of the state Democratic party, had failed to sign candidate petitions as required by law.
State District Judge Eric Moyé ruled today that Dallas County Republican Party Chairwoman Missy Shorey did not have the standing to bring the lawsuit and that Donovan was not required to sign the petitions, as her lawyers had advised her.
The Judge also said “that the matter is moot because the election is already underway,” reported the Dallas News.
Originally the Republicans wanted to erase 128 Democrats from the ballot, many of them among the most prominent candidates and officials in the area, but that was parted down to about 80, leading up to this court ruling.
New: Texas Republicans are trying to purge Democrat candidates from ballots. The Dallas County GOP is taking the challenge to court, saying the county’s Dem leader did not sign the petitions of 128 Dem candidates. https://t.co/QhzIvoNVQI
— Adrienne ٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶ (@ImagineWorldas1) February 9, 2018
Dallas is a Democratic stronghold in a state that has become mostly ruled by Republicans.
Democrats called it a “frivolous” lawsuit and “a thinly veiled attempt by the Dallas County Republican Party to take away the ability of minority voters in Dallas County to elect the candidates of their choice,” said state Rep. Eric Johnson.
Johnson is an African American who would have been excluded from the ballot had Republicans won the lawsuit.
“The Republican Party,” added Johnson, “seems to be doing everything in its power to show minority voters that it has little regard for them at the national, state, and now local level.”
“This decision ensures that democracy has been protected,” Donovan said today.
“Democrats will not be divided or distracted,” she added. “We will continue to defend the rights of voters to choose their elected officials at the ballot box.”
The Republicans had fought to have Judge Eric Moyé removed because he’s a Democrat, but also failed in that effort.
Judge Moyé still has to decide if Republicans will now have to pay all of the Democrats legal costs for this “frivolous” lawsuit, and how much they will be assessed.
Republicans have indicated they may still appeal but with the clock ticking, that gets more difficult, and makes it more likely ultimately the decision on these candidates will belong, – as it should – to the voters.
There is still a larger legal battle going on over the gerrymandering of electoral districts in the state.
Even with the existing districts, Texas Democrats showed unusual strength in the recent primary election as the voters started a blue wave that could last all the way until November and beyond.
“People are really frustrated about politicians choosing their constituents, whether they’re Republicans, Independents or Democrats,” said Rep. Rafael Anchia, Dallas Democrat who represents one of the districts subject in the lawsuit. #txlege #votingrights https://t.co/HNV0ZIYXzb
— Rafael Anchía (@RafaelAnchia) April 21, 2018