Wednesday is the deadline for state and local (where required) candidates and officeholders to file their January semiannual campaign finance reports. They typically become available online during the next day.

HD28 special: The Gary Gates (R) campaign released a new ad, “False Attacks,” to counter a recent ad from the out-of-state Forward Majority PAC that repeated 20-year-old allegations of child abuse by Gates.

Child Protective Services removed the Gates’s children in 2000 based on a complaint but ultimately returned them and dropped the case against Gates, which was the impetus for changes in state policy regarding the removal of children from a home. The issue has resurfaced during some of Gates’s past campaigns. The new Gates ad criticizes Democratic opponent Eliz Markowitz for the attack ad, but it was paid created and paid for by the out-of-state PAC.

HD74 open: A federal judge has ruled that Ramsey Cantu is eligible to seek the Democratic nomination to succeed Rep. Poncho Nevárez (D-Eagle Pass). Cantu had been ruled ineligible by the state Democratic Party last month but soon obtained a temporary restraining office preventing the production of ballots until a federal court hearing.

HD138 open: Harris Co. Republican Chair Paul Simpson’s determination that Josh Flynn was ineligible to run will stand, but state law requires his name to remain on the ballot. Further legal determinations about his eligibility could occur after the primary election should voters not make the issue moot. Houston homemaker Lacey Hull and Houston conservative media executive Claver Kamau-Imani are the other Republicans seeking to succeed the retiring Rep. Dwayne Bohac (R-Houston).

CD32: The campaign of Republican candidate Floyd McLendon Jr. announced he raised $238K during the fourth quarter and has more than $100K on hand.

Midland ISD: District Judge Mackey Hancock ordered election officials to count 837 manual ballots discovered after a November recount determined that a $569 million bond package had narrowly passed. One of the ballots was discovered in an electronic voting machine, and the other 836 paper ballots were found in a box in mid-December. Intervenors in the case requested that the election be voided because gaps in the ballots’ chain of custody cast doubt as to their validity. Hancock said it would be premature to void the election at this time, but he instructed counsel to obtain depositions from Midland Co. election officials regarding the ballots’ chain of custody and legality. The count is expected to be completed within a couple of weeks.

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