The Republican Party of Texas sued the secretary of state Friday to keep U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold off the 2018 ballot after the congressman accused of sexual harassment said he will not seek reelection. Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi, announced his intent to retire two days after the state’s Tuesday deadline to withdraw from the general election primary, creating a legal and potential headache for GOP leaders. “By disallowing Mr. Farenthold’s withdrawal from the primary election, the state is forcing the Republican Party of Texas to be associated with Mr. Farenthold via his appearance on the primary ballot. Neither Rep. Farenthold nor the Republican Party of Texas desires this outcome,” Chris Gober, an attorney for the Texas GOP, said in a federal lawsuit requesting the state be barred from enforcing its withdrawal deadline against the congressman. Gober characterized the cutoff as “unconstitutionally overbroad.”
Sam Taylor, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office, declined to comment on pending litigation, but Austin election lawyer Buck Wood said he expects the GOP’s suit to be unsuccessful.
“In the Fifth Circuit, who knows, but normally the chances would be zero,” Wood said, explaining that states are responsible for regulating elections, which Texas has done. “What would be constitutional? You let him withdraw a week before the primary? A month before the primary?”
Full Article: Texas GOP Sues to Keep U.S. Rep. Farenthold Off 2018 Ballot.