As previously reported in the Houston Forward Times, out of all the Houston City Council races that were slated to appear on the December 14th runoff ballot, it was announced that the voters who reside in Houston’s District B would not be able to decide who their next representative would be due to a major lawsuit that was filed challenging the original election’s outcome.
After causing a huge stir in the District B community of Houston, with people on both sides expressing their views on the matter, a special presiding judge recently ruled that the outcome of the general election that was held on November 5, 2019, was official, and that a runoff between the top two vote-getters should move forward as originally planned.
The ruling allows candidates Tarsha Jackson, who won 21% of the vote, and Cynthia Bailey, who garnered 14% of the vote, to move forward with a runoff that has been scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 2, 2020.
Last December Harris County District Court Judge Cory Don Sepolio ruled that the Harris County District Courts were disqualified from presiding over the case, delaying the District B City Council runoff election and sending the case to a Special Judge.
In the ruling by the Special Judge, it was determined that the City of Houston did not violate its duty, under the Texas Election Code Sec 143.003 (g), when presented with information pertinent to determining the eligibility of candidate Cynthia Bailey.
Additionally, the judge dismissed with prejudice, the claims and causes of third place finisher, Renee Jefferson-Smith, allowing for the runoff election to move forward.
Front-runner Jackson expressed her gratitude regarding the final judgment ordering for the runoff election to take place in a released statement.
“For the past 2 months our election was put on hold because the 3rd place finisher, Renee Jefferson Smith filed a lawsuit contesting the eligibility of the 2nd place finisher, Cynthia Bailey,” said Jackson. “After months of court appearances and appeals, the residents of District B will finally have the opportunity to vote for their City Council representative.”
Jefferson Smith still has the ability to appeal the latest ruling, due in part because she does not believe the state law in place that is supposed to prevent individuals with felony convictions from running for office should be ignored. As of this article, there has been no indication as to whether Jefferson Smith will continue on with her lawsuit. The Houston Forward Times will keep you posted on any latest developments.