Howard declared the winner in HD48

At long last.

Rep. Donna Howard won the House District 48 seat by four votes over Republican Dan Neil, according to state Rep. Will Hartnett, R-Dallas. Hartnett was appointed to investigate their election after Neil challenged the results.


Hartnett’s recommendation goes now to a select committee chaired by Rep. Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi, which in turn will make a recommendation to the full House. The House’s decision is final. Neil can, if he chooses, withdraw his appeal at any time.

During the four-day hearing, Neil’s lawyer, Joe Nixon, argued the margin of votes was too close to definitively declare a winner. Howard’s lawyer, Randall “Buck” Wood, said Neil could not request a recount just because he did not like the results.

Seven voters moved out of Travis County but did not change their address before voting in the election, Hartnett wrote in his recommendation. Hartnett opened four ballots during the course of the trial and did not count one of those votes because of ineffective registration, which left Howard’s margin of victory at four votes, he said.

The full report will be out later; I’ll link to it when I find it. I expect Neil to withdraw his challenge before this ever get to the House, as Talmadge Heflin did in 2005 after contesting his close loss to Rep. Hubert Vo. But who knows, he may draw it out further still.

One important point to note, from Patricia Kilday Hart:

Representative Will Hartnett, Master of Discovery for the Election Contest for Texas House District 48 releases the following statement:

“After a thorough review of the numerous challenged ballots, I have concluded that Donna Howard won the House District 48 election by 4 votes.

Voters who had moved out of Travis County without changing their voter registration and returned to vote in their former precinct caused a net subtraction of 7 votes from Ms. Howard’s margin of victory. Counting 4 unopened ballots subtracted a net of 2 votes from Ms. Howard’s margin.

Striking 1 vote by a voter who was not effectively registered added 1 vote to her margin.

I have seen no evidence of any voter fraud or of any substantial errors by any Travis County election official. My report will be released later this evening.”

Emphasis mine. Fraud, rampant fraud, was also alleged by Heflin in 2005, and it too turned out to be nothing. Be sure to remind your local teabagger of this the next time they rant about illegal immigrants stealing elections or whatever else the voices in their heads are telling them. A statement from Rep. Howard is beneath the fold.

“The Master of Discovery’s recommendations are the culmination of a tremendous amount of hard work and careful deliberation. They reconfirm that this election was conducted fairly and professionally, and that I was chosen by the voters to represent House District 48. The presentation and thorough review of the evidence was a critical part of determining the true winner of this election, and I want to thank everyone who gave up their time to participate in last week’s hearings.”

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3 Responses to Howard declared the winner in HD48

  1. texaschick says:

    I am wondering what it is going to take to finally make Texans and Americans mad. Butget cuts in Texas and Congressional Budget cuts. Cornyn says we must “share the pain.” But, I have yet to see any of them reduce their salaries or reduce their benefits.

    Then, you read this:

    February 11, 2011 02:51 PM
    Senator Jon Kyl Announces His Retirement
    By Nicole Belle
    “Kyl has said that he intends to stay in public policy, just not in public office, which translates to…you guessed it…lobbyist time. Gotta go where the money is.

    Speaking of money, having been in Congress (both the House and the Senate) for more than 25 years and at the ripe age of 68, Kyl qualifies for the very generous Congressional full pension and benefits for the balance of his life. Not including bonuses for his leadership position, Kyl’s annual salary for being a Senator is $174,000, and his full pension is 80% of that or $139,200 annually. That means that the same man who refused to extend unemployment benefits to the 99ers, who wants to repeal health care reform in favor of “market solutions” and drastically cut services to those who can least afford it will be getting a nice little check of almost $12,000 every month from us taxpayers, thankyouverymuch. And that doesn’t include whatever cushy job he gets at some K Street office.

    Nice work if you can get it, huh?”

    complete article here:

    And, this:

    February 11, 2011 05:00 PM
    White House Retreats On Social Security — For Now
    By Susie Madrak
    “From the WSJ’s MarketWatch, information about exactly how close the administration came to proposing Social Security cuts. Please note, it wasn’t ruled out for good — but only put on the back burner.

    As Digby points out again and again, the Republicans will have no problem cooperating with the Democrats on cutting Social Security — and then turning around and slamming us in the teeth with it in the 2012 elections, just like they did in the mid-terms:

    The White House last month considered offering specific benefit cuts and tax increases to shore up Social Security’s finances, but ultimately decided to back off.”

    more here:

    I don’t know how our elected officials at the state or federal level can look at themselves in the mirror. While Kyle may be able to work until he is 68+, many Americans can’t. They have stole from Social Security and now do not way to pay it back. Same way with state pensions.

    Our elected officials have no intention of “sharing the pain.” I wonder when the full impact of what our elected officials both at the state and federal level has done will sink in on Texans and Americans? I wonder what the reaction will be when all of this does sink in.

  2. texaschick says:

    If this works out for Gov. Walker, do ya think Perry might try it?

    WI Gov. Walker ready to set National Guard on state workers
    by Laura Clawson
    Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 01:36:03 PM PST

    Is this really happening in America?

  3. texaschick says:

    Russ Feingold
    Statement on Governor Walker’s Request to Eliminate Collective-Bargaining Rights

    February 11, 2011

    “Governor Walker’s request to the State Legislature to eliminate nearly all of the collective-bargaining rights for thousands of Wisconsin workers is big government at its worst. No private employer can do what the governor proposes, nor should it. For decades, Wisconsin has protected the rights of workers to collectively bargain with their employer on wages, benefits, workplace rules, and many other aspects of their employment. The governor is wrong to suggest that public workers are responsible for the state’s budget woes, and he is wrong to use that bogus excuse to strip them of rights that millions of other American workers have.”

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