Democratic officials in Senate District 22 got together in a Hillsboro restaurant Thursday evening and nominated John Cullar to run for the state Senate seat now held by Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury. Cullar is a Waco attorney, former McLennan County Democratic chairman (until earlier this year) and a former member of the State Democratic Executive Committee.
And that was followed by an announcement that Cullar would file suit over Birdwell’s eligibility to run for the Senate. Here’s the TDP press release:
[Friday], Democratic SD 22 nominee John Cullar and the Texas Democratic Party filed a Petition for Writ of Mandamus in the Fort Worth Court of Appeals in to determine Republican SD 22 candidate Brian Birdwell’s eligibility to appear on the ballot. Cullar was nominated by the SD 22 Democratic County Executive Committee. Birdwell’s eligibility has been called into question over his record of voting in Virginia from 2004-2006.
“I’m going to run a comprehensive campaign, and part of that is analyzing if my opponent is eligible to represent the people of SD 22,” said SD 22 Democratic nominee John Cullar. “I look forward to seeing that question resolved by the court. In the meantime, I’ll be out talking with the voters of the district I’ve been proud to call home for 26 years.”
“We’re very pleased to offer SD 22 residents an excellent candidate and a real choice in their representation in the Texas Senate,” added Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie. “These voters deserve a Senator who has lived in the district, knows its communities, and runs a campaign on the issues that matter to his neighbors – not on partisan rhetoric.”
The Statesman notes that timing is an issue.
If Birdwell were to be declared ineligible before August 24, the GOP chairs in Senate District 22 could select a replacement for him — with [former Sen. David] Sibley [who lost to Birdwell in the special election runoff] a likely front-runner. If a decision were to come after August 24, Birdwell’s name would remain on the November ballot and a special election might be required to replace him if he won the general election, according to party officials.
That’s actually not a terrible scenario for the Republicans. They’d still be strong favorites to win both of those races, assuming nothing unusual happened. But you never know, and if Birdwell is declared ineligible after the 24th and wins in November anyway, the seat would be open for as long as it takes for a replacement to win the special election and almost certain runoff. In any event, I’m glad to see we have a candidate, and I can’t wait to see how the court rules on this.