January 13, 2006
Carlisle back on the ballot in Amarillo

The GOP primary challenger to State Rep. David Swinford won her court case to get back on the ballot.

The court directed Tina Benkiser, chairwoman of the Republican Party of Texas to certify Anette Carlisle as a candidate for the 87th District seat against incumbent David Swinford.

The GOP had said her position on the school board disqualified her under the Texas Constitution from seeking a legislative seat.

The court said an opinion would follow its order.

"We're very appreciative of the court's judgment," said attorney Don Dean, who represents Carlisle.


Carlisle sought the court's intervention Wednesday after she was disqualified by the state GOP. Benkiser cited a provision in the Texas Constitution that prevents any person holding a "lucrative office" from running for the Legislature.

Though school board members by state law cannot be paid, Carlisle was allowed to collect per diem for travel. The Republican Party argued that any payment beyond a member's actual expenses becomes pay.

In her petition to the court, Carlisle said that her actual expenses greatly exceeded any reimbursement she receives.

Dean said the ruling appears to put to rest the issue of whether members of non-paid school boards can run for the Legislature without resigning as trustees. Six other active school board members are running for the House in the March Republican primary.

That should please the Amarillo Globe-News, which had run a fairly stinging editorial about this exercise of incumbent protection by Benkiser.

Common sense has moved to the top of the Republican Party hit list, the place where intelligence no longer matters.

Anette Carlisle, an Amarillo school board member who also wants to run in the Republican Party primary for the Texas House of Representatives, at this moment is a candidate without portfolio.

The Texas Republican Party has removed Carlisle from the March 7 primary ballot because, the GOP says, she cannot run for the Legislature while holding another "lucrative" public office.


At issue is a provision in the Texas Constitution that bars officeholders from seeking another public office. The state GOP seems to believe that Carlisle receives a per diem payment for her service, when in fact she is reimbursed only for expenses - such as food and lodging - she incurs while on school district business.

And that, says the GOP, constitutes a "lucrative" public office.

What utter nonsense.


The court should act immediately to get this matter resolved, hopefully in way that restores common sense to this messy issue.

If the court acts correctly, then the Republican voters of House District 87 can focus their attention on more important things, such as which of these candidates - Swinford or Carlisle - is better suited to represent their interests in the next Texas Legislature.

They did, and I agree with lawyer Dean that it should settle the matter for the future.

Also in the story, a Montgomery County candidate gets restored, a Democrat stays on the ballot in Tom Green County, and Carole Keeton "Why ask Y?" Strayhorn will not be disqualified for her spelling errors. As PinkDome notes, at least they kept their sense of humor over this one.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 13, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack