Democrat Wendy Davis is eligible to run against state Sen. Kim Brimer, R-Fort Worth, in November, according to a civil court ruling.
When asked if Brimer planned to appeal the ruling, his lawyer, Nick Acuff, said “I think so.”
Outside the courtroom, Davis said she was confident the ruling will stand through appeals. She also plans to send Brimer a letter suggesting they participate in a series of debates. [A copy of the letter is below]
“I’m very very confident in the law and I’m very confident, that regardless of the appellate level that hears this case, we are legally on the ballot,” she said.
She also said she looked forward to continuing with her campaign.
“I hope (the ruling) sends a message to my opponent,” Davis said. “That message being that it’s time to start debating the issues that are important to the voters of Senate District 10 and put aside these petty legal obstacles."
Judge Tom Lowe ruled in favor of Davis' eligibility based on two different criteria. He said that Davis' second filing for the Texas Senate (done on Jan. 2) was completely free of conflict because Joel Burns had been sworn in as city councilman the day before. This ruling is the first concrete declaration of whether Burns' unscheduled swearing-in at home was official. Fort Worth city attorneys have declined to say.
Lowe then said that even if Burns' first swearing-in wasn't official, meaning that Davis held her city council seat for a week following her filing to run for a higher office, it didn't matter.
"Davis's holding office for those additional seven days was de minimus and does not render her ineligible to seek election," Lowe wrote.
Waiting on a comment from Brimer.
More to come.
UPDATE: Davis supporters can't hide their disdain for Brimer's decision to file the lawsuit.
From Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie, a defendant in the suit: "The people of SD 10 deserve leadership from their elected officials, but Senator Brimer has tried almost every trick in the book to deny the voters a choice. Senator Brimer’s career has been marked by plenty of shady schemes already, and now it’s time for him to stop cowering behind his attorneys and start debating the issues that matter to Tarrant County voters.”
From Bree Buchanan, executive director of Annie's List, a group that supports female Democratic candidates in Texas: “We are very happy the courts have confirmed what we have known all along—these suits are a waste of the courts’, candidates’, and voters’ time and resources and are unfounded. We hope that the voters will have the opportunity to hear from the candidates on the issues now, instead of being distracted by these desperate ploys by Senator Brimer.”
UPDATE: Davis has written a letter to Brimer suggesting they participate in a series of debates, according to her campaign manager Matt Latham.
UPDATE: Brimer's campaign has issued a statement. It doesn't say whether he plans to appeal. It has an unexpected opening: "Our campaign will continue as normal. Our opponent is the only person on the Fort Worth City Council to vote against senior citizen property tax reduction. If our opponent is eligibly on the ballot come September, this will be a major point of debate."
Click here for the full statement.
The statement, from Brimer campaign spokesman Jarod Cox, goes on to dismiss today's ruling and suggest that Davis's eligibility is still up for debate.
Cox declares that when Davis filed a second time to run against him on Jan. 2, she was still a city councilwoman. This appears to be in direct contradiction to what Judge Lowe ruled earlier today.
Brimer Cox also accuses Davis of abusing her
position on the city council by running for re-election only to
announce her resignation four months later in order to run for higher
"In our opinion, the facts in today's court case confirm that Ms Davis conspired to break Texas constitutional requirements for state legislative candidate eligibility. That Davis purposely ran for Fort Worth city council in May of 2007 with no intention of serving her full term which overlaps the start of the State Senate legislative term she was seeking...This is exactly what the kind of public office abuse that the framers of the Texas State Constitution wanted to prohibit."