After a Democrat sued the Tarrant County GOP and its Chairman Bo French to become part of the party’s governing board, the party is asking the court to dismiss the election contest. 

During the March Republican primary election, Chris Rector won a seat as precinct chair position 4320 for the Tarrant County GOP. Precinct chairs are members of their county party’s executive committee, which assists in governing the local party.  

French declared Rector administratively ineligible for the position after discovering that Rector was affiliated with the Democrat Party, having run as a Democrat for Congress in the 2024 election cycle. Soon after being declared ineligible, Rector filed a lawsuit against French and the party. 

On Sunday, French and the Tarrant County GOP responded to the election contest, saying the case should be dismissed because the contest was untimely, the Tarrant County GOP is not a proper party, and the court lacks jurisdiction to interfere with the party’s right of association.

“What role do Texas Courts have to play in determining the results of elections for a party office, such as precinct chair?” French asked. “From a search of legal research databases, it appears this is the very first election contest ever brought in the State of Texas over the position of a political party’s precinct chair.”

Additionally, French stated that the election contest was required to be filed on March 29, 2024; however, it was filed on April 10, 2024—12 days too late. Texas Elections Code section 232.008 states: “A contestant must file the petition not later than the later of the 15th day after the date the election records are publicly available.”

In the Tarrant County GOP’s answer to the contest, they respond, “Rector seeks to use his Election Contest to invade the Tarrant County Republican Party’s freedom of association, so that he can work to destroy the party from the inside.”

“Texas law does not recognize political parties as proper ‘contestees’ in election contests. Accordingly, inclusion of TCGOP in this suit is an error and this Court is required to dismiss this action against the Party,” reads the filing. 

Tony McDonald, one of the attorneys representing French and Tarrant County GOP, told Texas Scorecard that he is confident Texas courts will ultimately reject the case. 

“The Tarrant County GOP is a private organization,” said McDonald. “Mr. Rector seeks to use the power of the state to control the party. He wants to force the party to seat him as a member, despite his delusions that he will make it illegal to be a Republican in Tarrant County. I’m confident Texas courts won’t abuse their power to help Mr. Rector in his mission to destroy the Republican Party.”

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.