Texas GOP candidate’s complaint dismissed after failing to pay dues

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The losing Republican candidate’s case to overturn his November 2022 election results was dismissed this week by one of the state’s top legislative leaders.

Republican Mike May filed in what is known as a campaign battle with the Texas Secretary of State’s office in early December, asking the Legislature to void the midterm results and order new ones. Texas electoral law allows any candidate to challenge the results.

May, who ran for District 135 in the Houston area, lost his bid to the Democratic incumbent. John Rosenthal over 6000 votes. May argued in his petition that the election results were not the “true outcome” due to a shortage of paper ballots at some polling stations in Houston on Election Day.

Speaker of the House Dade Phelan dismissed May’s case this week, citing May’s failure to follow procedural rules set out in the election law. In a January 9 letter addressed to May and received by The Texas Tribune, Phelan said the campaign was abandoned because May did not submit her contribution to the House on time.

May could not be contacted for comment.

Rosenthal said he felt May’s challenge was “unreasonable” and that he was pleased with the dismissal.

“For the challenge to be accepted, you have to demonstrate that a certain number of voters who would have voted for you have been disenfranchised,” Rosenthal said. “There were no such statements in this challenge.”

May was one of more than 20 losing Republican candidates in Harris County who filed to run, citing Election Day trouble reports. According to the county recent Post-election assessment, some November polling stations opened late and ran out of paper, problems that losing candidates claim prevented people from voting on Election Day. The report said the county investigation “has not yet revealed” whether any voters were rejected.

Unlike May’s challenge, the other contests mostly came from candidates running for judicial office, including Republican Alexandra del Moral Miler, who ran for district judge in Texas’s most populous county but lost to incumbent Lina Hidalgo.

All of these disputes are heard by the district court, not the Legislature. The cases are expected to be heard within the next few months, Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee said.

In a statement Wednesday, Menefee hailed the Legislature for rejecting May’s contest.

“This quick dismissal shows that these election contests have a lot to do with political posturing and undermining our democratic processes,” Menefee said. “I thank Speaker Phelan and Representative Morgan Meyer for the observance of the law and ensuring the will of the voters”.

This was stated by the chairman of the Democratic Party of Harris County Odus Evbagaru. in a statement that the election contests are part of an effort to “fuel election deniability” and he hopes the remaining contests will be rejected.

“This pathetic attempt to grasp at straws has become a sad tradition for Republican candidates,” Evbagaru said. “I am pleased that Representative Rosenthal can now devote his time to this session to discussing the passage of legislation that will improve the lives of the people of District 135.”

Disclosure: The Secretary of State of Texas provides financial support to The Texas Tribune, a non-profit, non-partisan news organization funded in part by donations from members, foundations, and corporate sponsors. Financial sponsors play no role in Tribune journalism. Find the complete list them here.

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