Emergency Hearing Scheduled For Lawsuit Filed By Bell
Judge Stephen Yelenosky has granted an emergency hearing scheduled for 2 p.m. Sept. 8 in the lawsuit filed by District 17 candidate Chris Bell against the Texas Secretary of State and Stephanie E. Simmons. A judge has not yet been appointed for the hearing, which will be held at the Travis County Courthouse in Austin.
Chris Bell filed the lawsuit Sept. 4 claiming Simmons does not meet the residency requirements to run for the office vacated by Kyle Janek. Simmons filed for Senate District 17 on the deadline last week.
On the ballot, Simmons is listed as an attorney, a Democrat, and resident of Missouri City, with no phone number listed. Bell was previously the only Democrat on the ballot.
Representatives of Bell’s campaign say the only reason Simmons is on the ballot for the special election is to confuse voters and force a runoff.
“Their only hope of winning this race is to force a runoff, they (Republicans) can’t beat Chris Bell in November,” said Bell campaign spokesman Jason Stanford. “They’ve got to force a runoff and this is a desperate attempt to play politics with the official ballot and because the Secretary of State immediately certified the ballot, Chris Bell had no other option than to go to court today.”
Republicans running include businessman and former George H.W. Bush Administration appointee Austen Furse, a West University Place resident, Former Harris County felony court judge Joan Huffman, a Southside Place resident, and Harris County Republican precinct chair Grant Harpold.
The special election will be held on Election Day, Nov. 4. A runoff will follow if no candidate in the special election gets a majority.