Political and Election Law: KXAN: Texas GOP moves to dismiss Farenthold ballot lawsuit

By Wes Rapaport and Steffi Lee, KXAN

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Republican Party has moved to dismiss a lawsuit it filed last week against the Secretary of State’s Office that originally aimed to remove U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas 27, from the March 2018 primary ballot.

Chris Gober, an attorney representing the Texas Republican Party, said the Attorney General’s office told the party the Secretary of State doesn’t have the authority to enforce the statute. The Secretary of State’s office is tasked with administering state elections.

Instead, Gober said GOP Chairman James Dickey is able to submit a list of names to the Secretary of State’s office that can include or leave out any name he wants to and the Secretary of State’s office has no enforcing power on those names.

“If they effectively don’t have that power, there’s really no reason for us to be in court today,” Gober told reporters after the hearing.

“It was not Blake Farenthold’s intent to game the system, to choose the successor or even to get out the race at the time the ballot period closed,” Gober said.

There are other possibilities for other people to challenge a ballot without Farenthold’s name on it, however, Gober said.

“You would have to have a plaintiff that has standing to bring a lawsuit to challenge that certification,” Gober said. “That’s certainly a possibility, and if that’s the case, but those are legal proceedings that would play out in time with presumably a plaintiff, a defendant and people with ability to enforce that, whereas the Secretary of State’s office has made the assertion that they do not.”

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