April 15, 2004
Rodriguez sues

As expected, Rep. Ciro Rodriguez has filed suit to overturn the recount result in the CD28 Democratic primary.

The suit, filed in 341st District Court on Cuellar's home turf, alleges that there is "no ready or plausible explanation" for a dramatic swing in votes in Zapata and Webb counties during a recount of the March 9 election.

Rodriguez, who came away with a slim 145-vote victory March 9, saw that lead evaporate into a 203-vote loss after Cuellar picked up a total of 347 net votes in the two South Texas counties in the 11-county recount. While the Rodriguez camp has hinted that fraud may have played a role in the outcome, the five-page lawsuit does not levy any specific allegations.

"We're not going to go into details of what we're going to prove and how we're going to prove it," said Buck Wood, Rodriguez's Austin-based attorney who addressed members of the media today.

The Cuellar campaign immediately seized on the lack of specifics in the lawsuit as an indication that the legal maneuver is baseless.

"While no one welcomes a lawsuit, the Cuellar organization is pleased that now, with today's filing, Congressman Rodriguez and his campaign will have to present hard facts clear and convincing proof of voter fraud," said Cuellar spokesman T.J. Connolly. "We are confident that there are no facts to back up any of the allegations that the Rodriguez organization has been manufacturing for the past two weeks."

He added: "As Mr. Rodriguez's own attorney stated today, there are no bombshells in their filing with the court. In fact, there is no ammunition in their charges period."

Recount lawsuits generally garner expedited attention, and Wood said he hopes to have a ruling within a month.

As I said before, I have no predictions. Like the Cuellar camp, I look forward to seeing whatever evidence of fraud or other wrongdoing the Rodriguez folks have. Let's get this settled once and for all.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 15, 2004 to Election 2004 | TrackBack

FYI--I don't think you have to prove fraud in a contested election to get a new election. If the number of disputed ballots (hangin chads, disputed address, double punched, improper marks, other problems) is greater than the margin of error, you have a case for a new election. There are cases in Texas of new elections without fraud ever being formally alleged or proved (TX-29 in 1992).

Posted by: Drew on April 15, 2004 3:03 PM

my mistake--"margin of error" should be "margin of victory in my last post.

Posted by: Drew on April 15, 2004 3:05 PM