A top Texas Democrat’s eligibility for the ballot is in question according to a lawsuit filed this afternoon.
At issue is the residency of Democrat Pete Gallego, a former state legislator and congressman attempting to return to public office in a special election runoff to replace disgraced former State Sen. Carlos Uresti.
The suit argues that Gallego is ineligible to run for the position due to the fact that he resides in Austin, an area well outside of Senate District 19 a large, rural district that includes portions of South San Antonio and 16 counties to the west.
The Republican Party of Texas is named as the plaintiff in the suit, as well two voters in the district.
Although his ballot application claims that Gallego resigns in Alpine, the suit alleges that he has resided in Austin since at least 2000 and has claimed homestead exemption in Travis County on his property taxes. Gallego’s wife, whom he married in that year, has worked since 1997 as general counsel for the Office of Court Administration, a position which necessitates her day-to-day presence in the state’s capital.
“SD 19 has suffered enough corruption. It is shameful that Democrats have chosen to replace one corrupt lawbreaker with another to run for Senate District 19,” RPT Chairman James Dickey stated shortly after the filing. “The voters of this district deserve an honest elected official to represent them in the Texas Senate; one who actually lives in the district like they do. It’s clear that Gallego has only kept his property in Alpine to dupe the voters into believing he is a resident of Senate District 19. Enough is enough.”
Gallego is running against Republican Pete Flores who received first place in the initial special election. The runoff is expected to take place in September, although an official date has yet to be set.