Simmons To Remain On District 17 Ballot
Democrat Stephanie Simmons will remain on the District 17 ballot, despite a lawsuit filed by Democrat Chris Bell and Judge Scott Jenkins’ suspicion that Simmons was not being truthful.
Bell filed for an emergency hearing last week after Simmons filed to run at the last minute as the only other Democrat on the ballot.
In his lawsuit, Bell claimed that Simmons had not resided at her current District 17, Fort Bend County address for the 11 months that Simmons claimed residency. The lawsuit indicated that Simmons has voted in Harris County for the past 14 years, including in the March, 2008 Primary. Under Texas law, a candidate must have lived in the district for a year prior to the election.
Simmons claimed she did not know she could not vote in Harris County, and has been a Fort Bend resident for the past 11 months. The judge expressed disbelief at the statement, but also said Bell had not supplied sufficient proof that Simmons moved into the district days before filing to run.
The Bell campaign has asserted that Simmons is a Republican ploy to confuse voters and weaken Bell’s chances on winning a majority, which would eliminate the need for a run-off between the top two vote-getters.
Representatives from Bell’s campaign say they do not think Simmons will hurt Bell’s chances.
“Chris Bell is going to win this race one way or another,” said campaign spokesperson Jason Stanford. “He did this because he always stands up against Republican dirty tricks – that’s the kind of guy he is.”
Simmons will remain on the ballot with Bell and Republicans Austen Furse, West U. resident, businessman and former George H.W. Bush Administration appointee, Former Harris County felony court judge Joan Huffman, a Southside Place resident, and Harris County Republican precinct chair Grant Harpold.
The special election will take place Nov. 4 to replace Kyle Janek, who resigned earlier this year.