Two challenges to Republican primary candidate Brent Hagenbuch’s eligibility to run in Senate District 30 faced court delays on Monday as deadlines to print and mail ballots for the election fast approach.
The four-way race for the open North Texas senate seat has sparked a fight over the state’s residency requirements for legislative candidates.
Candidates Dr. Carrie de Moor and Jace Yarbrough filed separate court challenges arguing that the Republican Party of Texas should not allow Hagenbuch on the ballot in a district where public records indicate he doesn’t reside.
In Yarbrough’s case before the Second Court of Appeals, Hagenbuch was supposed to respond by Monday, but his attorney said he was too busy with de Moor’s case and asked the court to extend the response deadline until Tuesday at 5:00 p.m.
Also on Monday, a hearing in de Moor’s suit against Hagenbuch and the RPT (originally set for December 19 but rescheduled by the judge) took place in a state district court in Denton County and resulted in another delay.
Hagenbuch didn’t attend, saying he was too busy campaigning with current State Sen. Drew Springer (R–Muenster), but his attorneys presented a previously unseen lease for an apartment within SD 30 that Hagenbuch claimed as his residence.
Attorneys for de Moor then requested a continuance so they can question the building manager about the apartment, which they say is in a commercial office space not zoned for residential use. State law prohibits registering to vote at a commercial address, and a city ordinance forbids anyone from residing in commercial buildings.
The judge set the next court hearing for January 19—one day before the January 20 deadline to send out mail ballots for the March 5 primary election.
Federal law requires county election officials to begin mailing ballots for military and overseas voters who have requested them by 45 days before Election Day.
De Moor blasted Hagenbuch for waiting three weeks to produce dozens of pages of documents including the purported apartment lease.
“This is about ensuring that the people of SD 30 have a candidate who lives where they are, who they can trust, and who’s not going to lie to them about where they live in order to gain office,” de Moor told radio host Mark Davis in an interview Tuesday morning about her challenge to Hagenbuch’s residency. “You’re not going to get endorsements just by paying people and paying high-price consultants and lobbyists in Austin.”
“If he’s going to lie to you now, he will lie to you in Austin,” she added.
“It’s all legal” for people in public office or seeking public office, Blakemore told Davis.
Blakemore said Hagenbuch moved to a “corporate apartment” in SD 30 before Springer announced on November 7 that he would not seek re-election and “long before anyone ever knew.”
But he didn’t say why Hagenbuch voted from his home address in SD 12 on October 29.
The consultant said the other SD 30 candidates “can’t win at the ballot box” and touted Hagenbuch’s endorsements by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and several state senators—all of whom are also Blakemore’s clients.
Blakemore chuckled when Davis asked if Hagenbuch was going to “be on the ballot no matter what.”
De Moor said that due to the delays, it’s “more than likely” Hagenbuch’s name will remain on the primary ballot, but if a court rules in favor of either residency challenge “he will be ineligible.”
“We need to ensure that the voice of the people is heard, and that they have somebody that is honest and is not going to lie to them,” she said.