Democrat Chris Bell today lost his attempt to remove another Democratic opponent from the ballot in the November special election for the District 17 Texas Senate seat.
State District Judge Scott Jenkins said Bell had failed to prove that Missouri City attorney Stephanie Simmons, who filed at the last minute, had not lived in the district for the required year.
The main downside to all this for Bell, aside from the usual negatives of taking a swing and missing, is that the suit and the related news coverage, including this remarkable Chron editorial - when was the last time they weighed in on a case like this? - is that it has all done more to raise Stephanie Simmons' name ID than anything she could have done on her own. There's clearly some money behind her - Ron Wilson doesn't do anything out of the goodness of his heart, and Roy Minton doesn't come cheap - and those folks got some bang for their buck here, without having to be public about it. In the end it may not amount to much, but it may not need to, given the need to earn a majority and not just come in first to win. But what's done is done, so onward with the campaign.
UPDATE: An amazing quote from QR:
After hearing testimony from Simmons herself that she voted in the wrong county for 14 years, District Judge Scott Jenkins was the picture of disbelief. She explained that she thought it was OK to vote in her parents' voting precinct in Harris County even though she and her husband lived in Fort Bend County. She said it never crossed her mind that she was doing anything wrong and that no one at a polling place for those 14 years asked her if she resided in the precinct.
"It's straining my credulity," Jenkins said in response. He used even stronger language while denying the other Democrat in the race, Chris Bell, an injunction that would have removed Simmons from the ballot. He marveled that an intelligent woman and an "officer of the court" - Simmons is an attorney - could have believed that what she was doing was legal.
"It saddens me that I do not believe you," Jenkins said.
Simmons claims in this story that she'll run a real campaign. I'll believe it when I see it, and in particular when I see her 30- and 8-days out campaign finance reports.Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 08, 2008 to Election 2008