The Tarrant County Republican Party said it is investigating an allegation that Russell Casey, Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace, submitted fake signatures to get on the ballot in the March primary.
"As soon as I saw those signatures you could see it was just fraud," said Lenny Lopez, one of Casey’s challengers.
Lopez made the accusation against Casey on Monday afternoon and asked the county party to remove the incumbent from the primary ballot before the first ones are printed in two weeks.
In Texas, to run for judicial positions, candidates must get at least 250 voters to sign a petition.
Lopez said some of Casey’s signatures looked like they were written with the same pen by the same person.
Deborah Pullano, a local school teacher, is among the names on Casey’s petition but she said the signature on the form is not hers.
“No, not even close,” she told WFAA.
Above it, her husband Jonathan's name appears on Casey’s petition, but it is spelled incorrectly with an "H."
Pullano said she has never supported Judge Casey in the past.
“No, I don't know who he is,” she added.
When reached by phone shortly Monday afternoon, Casey told WFAA that Lopez’s “allegation is completely false” and that every signature came from bona fide voters.
“They’re all from real people,” Casey said. “They were all collected.”
But Aaron Harris, from Direct Action Texas which investigates electoral fraud, said he organized a team to go door-to-door over the weekend and ask individuals listed on Casey’s petition whether they actually signed it.
Several dozen people, Harris said, signed notarized affidavits explaining that they did not put their names on it. Those affidavits were turned over to the county party.
"Here's a guy who's an incumbent judge who makes decisions that affect people’s lives on a day-to-day basis. He determines people’s destinies and yet has shown his character is such that he's willing to lie to just get on the ballot,” said Harris.
Charles Yancy and Janet Shearer are two more names on Casey’s petition. The signature on their affidavit looks different than what’s on the judge’s form.
Lopez and his attorney said they never would have made the discovery had Casey not started questioning signatures from his opponents in the first place. Casey accused Lopez and another opponent of problems with their own forms and asked the party to remove them from the ballot, which has not happened.
Tim O’Hare, chairman of the Tarrant County GOP said his office is reviewing Lopez’s allegation against Casey and will decide in the coming days whether Casey remains on the ballot.
Casey, first elected in 2007, did not want to appear on camera for this story and said he needed time to look at the allegation.
He also made headlines last year after a state court reprimanded him for having a sexual relationship with his clerk.
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