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Texas Republican Party Drops Lawsuit To Remove Farenthold From Primary Ballot

Ryan Poppe
Austin Federal Courthouse

The Republican Party of Texas dropped its lawsuit to remove embattled Congressman Blake Farenthold’s name from the 2018 primary ballot.

Farenthold asked to have his name removed from the primary ballot following ongoing accusations of sexual harassment, but his request came after the state’s deadline to remove himself from the ballot.

Chris Gober, an attorney representing the Republican Party of Texas, told an Austin federal judge that they were dropping their lawsuit because the party and the Secretary of State’s office had come to an agreement that the party chairman, James Dickey, is ultimately responsible for submitting the list of candidates running in the 2018 primary election.

“It would clear the way for him (Dickey) not to submit Blake Farenthold’s name and the secretary to do nothing about it,” Gober said.

But the attorneys representing the Secretary of State’s office say the party’s move also runs the risk of someone alleging a contested election.

Brandon Rottinhaus, a political science professor with the University of Houston, says the party’s move could also lead to voter uncertainty and confusion.

“One of the worst things that could happen is that there is confusion or contention about a winner,” Rottinhaus said.

And Rottinhaus said voter uncertainty, mixed with a San Antonio federal court redistricting ruling to have Farenthold’s congressional district redrawn, could hurt the party’s chance of holding that seat during the next election cycle.

Ryan Poppe can be reached at rpoppe@tpr.org or on Twitter at @RyanPoppe1

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.