State Rep. Nathan Macias, who was knocked off in a ridiculously close Republican primary last month and who has filed suit alleging various frauds and misdeeds did him in, has a date set for his lawsuit.
The first hearing on the suit took place Tuesday in Comal County’s 207th District Court, with visiting District Judge James Clawson ruling that he will preside over the trial — scheduled for May 19 — despite an attempt by Macias to have him removed from the case.
The incumbent had originally filed a lawsuit on March 31 to dispute the election and subsequent recount after losing by 17 votes to challenger Doug Miller.
Last week, Macias’ attorney Rene Diaz filed an objection to having Clawson hear the case, seeking to have a new judge take over the proceedings. But Clawson, who has ruled on numerous election contests in the past, disregarded the objection.
“I frankly kind of enjoy (election contests),” Clawson told the court. “They’re America at work.”
Diaz gave no reasoning as to why he wanted a different judge, other than that it is a “right that every civil litigant has in the State of Texas.” He presented Clawson with a handful of other cases from around the state to try and sway him to step down, ultimately to no avail.
“I’m not disappointed,” Diaz said after the ruling. “I would characterize it as a bit surprised that he did not follow the overwhelming statutory and case law that I presented him.”
Macias and his legal team still can challenge the ruling in a higher court, possibly the Texas Supreme Court, to seek a different judge. Diaz said any decision to do so would likely be made in the next few days.
“We’re considering our options,” Diaz said.
The lawsuit claims over 200 voters illegally cast ballots in both the Republican and Democratic primaries, and nearly 1,000 voted twice in the Republican primary. It also alleges numerous clerical errors and possible voter fraud might have tainted the election.
He also claimed convicted felons and mentally disabled people may have voted, and he alleges mistakes or improprieties by election officials, including sign-in sheets and mail-in absentee ballots lacking required signatures by election officials. He also complained that one of Miller’s relatives helped hand-count paper ballots in Gillespie County.
According to the relevant clause in the electoral code, a person is eligible to vote as long as he or she “has not been determined by a final judgment of a court exercising probate jurisdiction to be: (A) totally mentally incapacitated; or (B) partially mentally incapacitated without the right to vote”. That’s a pretty specific requirement, so I don’t know if Team Macias is blowing smoke or actually can prove that one or more people who have such judgments against them voted in the primary and will say under oath that they voted for his opponent. Seems a tall order, especially in such a short period of time, but that’s their problem. The pretrial hearing is set for May 14, so we’ll see what goods he has to produce.