Democratic candidates in Dallas are keeping their minds focused on the upcoming primary election.
However, a lawsuit filed by the Dallas County Republican party on Friday has some of the candidates fuming and strategizing.
The lawsuit seeks to remove about 128 Democratic candidates from the ballots for the March primary election.
“Part of the concern is that we are not seeing that the Democrats are recognizing the sanctity of signatures,” said Missy Shorey, Chair of the Dallas County Republican Party.
The Dallas GOP and its leaders are calling out the Dallas County Democratic Party Chair, Carol Donovan, for allegedly failing to personally sign petitions for a large number of candidates. The Republican Party points to at least three versions of Donovan’s signature on official documents submitted to the State.
“We had to take action,” Shorey explained. “We’ve seen systematic abuse of signatures, and in this case, potential forgeries that are going on and affecting our elections, and it has to be stopped.”
The Dallas County Republican Party said the Texas election code is clear, only the county Chair can sign candidate applications, not others claiming to be the county Chair.
The lawsuit is a controversial move, that could shake-up dozens of local races and potentially throw out a large number of candidates.
“I was very surprised to find that out, and very disappointed to know that that’s kind of where we’ve gotten in Texas politics,” said State Representative Eric Johnson.
He is among the Democratic candidates who could be impacted by the lawsuit. Johnson is blasting the County Republican Party, calling its lawsuit frivolous.
“They’ve actually gone as far as now, to try to know out almost 100 minority candidates from Dallas County who are seeking public office," Johnson said. "Over two-thirds of the candidates who are targeted by this lawsuit are minorities. And that’s what this is about.”
Back at the Dallas County Democratic Party headquarters, Donovan’s staff would not commenting on the pending litigation. Though the Party Chair issued a statement, saying:
“We will fight to ensure that all Democratic voters in Dallas County can participate in a fair Primary election. It is clear by this attack that the Dallas County GOP cannot win at the ballot box, so they are trying to litigate their way into victories in Dallas County, with no concern for Dallas County voters.”
Chris Hamilton is a candidate running against Donovan for Democratic Party Chair. He said, “This is a cynical attempt by the Dallas Co. Republican Party to prevent the voters from choosing their elected officials.”
As all sides wait for a hearing date, many people are waiting and watching to see what happens.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins described the lawsuit as “disgusting and wrong.” He said, “Think about the people who live here. This is an attempt by political insiders to deny you the right to choose representatives of your choice.”
Senator Royce West is also speaking out. He also called the lawsuit frivolous. “We are taking this seriously. We are handling it seriously. We’ll respond and seek to have this thrown out and ask for attorney’s fees," West said.
Dallas County Republican Party staffers say the court has yet to schedule a hearing date.