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Burnam loses appeal in election contest

Another setback.

Rep. Lon Burnam

A local appeals court will not require Tarrant County election officials to release all applications for mail-in ballots received for this year’s race for House District 90.

State Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, who has represented House District 90 for nearly two decades, asked to review the paperwork because he believed it would show illegalities in this race — and that he didn’t lose his re-election bid.

In March, Burnam lost by 111 votes to local businessman Ramon Romero Jr.

“This is the first step to the end of the line,” Romero said Monday. “Now I can tell people there won’t be a cloud over our victory party.

“I’ve been waiting for this to happen. This [lawsuit] is not what our voters deserve.”

Texas’ 2nd Court of Appeals in Fort Worth issued a brief ruling late Monday saying Burnam’s appeal was denied.

Art Brender, one of Burnam’s attorneys, said he plans to appeal to the Texas Supreme Court within days.

“It’s ironic at a time when we’re having debates over whether you have to have a picture ID to vote in person at a poll, … you’ve got increasingly very shadowy procedures now being sanctioned by voting by mail,” said Brender, former chairman of the Tarrant County Democratic Party. “We’re going to keep fighting it.”

See here, here, here, and here for the background. I have to say, I’ve been a fan of Lon Burnam, I was sad when he lost, and I agree that the law as written doesn’t specifically address the use of handheld electronic devices in processing absentee ballot requests. But that’s all that we’re talking about here, a possible technical violation of the law, which a court may or may not see as invalidating some number of those ballot requests. Allegations of impropriety and adopting Republican rhetoric about voter ID are misguided and harmful, and they threaten to tarnish Burnam’s legacy. I’m fine with pursuing the technical question of the law – it’s Burnam’s right to do so – but I don’t support this. Don’t lose your soul in pursuit of keeping your job, Lon.

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  1. Jason says:

    This reminds me of what happened to Kevin Baily in 2008 when Armando Walle beat him in the primary. Obviously there were no issues relating to electronic devices in that election, but Kevin resorted to having his consultant direct mail pictures from Walle’s facebook pages of him making what appeared to be possible gang signs. The bottom line is Anglo-Democrats will continue to see these sort of challenges as their districts turn more latino and we can all watch as they pull the same stuff they deplore Republicans for doing. The irony of hipocracy. We may even she this start to take shape in SJL’s district before the next redistricting occurs.

  2. matx says:

    SJL has been in Republican crosshairs since the beginning of her time in office. Newspapers and TV couldn’t go a day without some negative stuff about her, no matter how tangential it was to the story. I really don’t think Democrats will pull it against her because they see how really ineffective it was in getting her out of office and don’t need to waste resources chasing their tails.