Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Wendy Davis' Eligibility for Senate District 10 Challenged

According to the Fort Worth Star Telegram, a challenge has been made regarding Wendy Davis' eligibility to file for Texas State Senate District 10 against Kim Brimer.

Three Fort Worth firefighters delivered a letter Monday afternoon to Art Brender, Tarrant County Democratic Party chairman, calling on the party to disqualify Davis from running because she is still a Fort Worth City Council member.

State law forbids sitting council members from running for the Legislature. Although Davis resigned in August, local law requires her to keep her seat until a successor is sworn in. Joel Burns, who won the special election runoff Dec. 18 to replace Davis, is scheduled to be sworn in Jan. 8.

The letter left Brender scrambling for legal clarification and appealing for an eleventh hour backup candidate "in an abundance of caution."

Steve at Caravan of Dreams has some speculation as to who could be behind the challenge.

According to the Startlegram, the letter was sent by Cullen Cox, Rickey Turner and Javier Cerda, three firefighters who support the Democratic Party, according to Rob Gibson, second vice president of the Fort Worth Professional Firefighters Association. If these guys truly support the Democratic Party, why would they derail a candidate who looked to have an excellent opportunity to unseat a very vulnerable and disliked Republican?

As one local Democrat told me this morning, the dots are pretty easy to connect. The political consultant for the Fort Worth Firefighters is Republican political consultant Bryan Eppstein. The political consultant for Kim Brimer is -- you guessed it -- Republican political consultant Bryan Eppstein.

If Eppstein's name is familiar, it's because his fingerprints are all over the North Texas political landscape. He made news last year when J.D. Granger, son of U. S. Rep Kay Granger (R- Fort Worth- a client of Eppstein's), hired him for a lucrative consulting gig with the Tarrant Regional Water District board. The appointment was made without an RFP.

No word on who might replace Davis if her filing is declared invalid.

UPDATE: The FWST is reporting this evening that Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns was sworn in today, one week earlier than scheduled.

Burns said he was told by Fort Worth city attorneys that because the runoff election results were canvassed last Thursday, making them official, he could be sworn in any time.

John Hill, a retired appellate judge, administered the oath of office Tuesday at Burns' home in front of a small group of family and friends, Burns said.

There is still some question as to whether this paves the way for Davis to run. Davis filed for office in early December.

Brender said he also notified the Texas Secretary of State's Office regarding challenge.

"It's an issue, unfortunately, that the courts have not ruled on," he said. "The actual issue regarding an officeholder resigning and staying on as a holdover candidate has not been decided by the courts. Although I don't think there would have been any issue had she filed tomorrow and Joel had been sworn in today."


Anonymous said...

Could be interesting..Wendy voted and accepted pay as a member of Council, while waiting for succesor to be named. Also City Charter says new members SHALL be swore in at first council meeting following the canvas of votes at City Hall. The Charter does not say a council member-elect may decide to get swore in at home when he wants to.

Anonymous said...

Why didn't they just wait?

I just abandoned hope that the Davis campaign will be competently run.

Anonymous said...

Old court cases that called into question not allowing a party to have a candidate...this just says Demo's need to find one qualified. Choice is up to Brender...risk Wendy being thrown off or picking someone else. This was well thought out by Epstein and all kinds of stars had to come into line...runoff for Council seat, Fort Worth moving election date to 18th. Christmas and New Years falling on Tuesday etc. In the end Courts will decide probably and new Councilman Burns will have to tetify under oath that he was sworn in by his own choice, or he lied to Star-Telegram. Great way to start huh...I do know that Epstein did know that council would not meet today, so Burns could not be sworn in legally as City Charter requires. My bet, Wendy's campaign just added alot of court costs on top of her election costs all by not paying attention to details.