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HD68 special: Jacksboro financial planner John Berry, a former Jack County Commissioner, and Nocona boot manufacturer Craig Carter have filed as Republicans for the January 23 special election.

Berry was appointed in 2017 to fill an unexpired term and lost the 2018 Republican primary by 10 votes. Carter has twice unsuccessfully sought SD30, losing the 2018 Republican primary (15%) and the 2020 special election (5%).

Cooke County Judge Jason Brinkley (R) and Jacksboro ISD trustee David Spiller (R) have previously announced their candidacies. Monday is the deadline for candidates to file with the Secretary of State. Early voting begins January 11.

Census Delay: The U.S. Census Bureau announced that it will miss a December 31 deadline to provide President Trump with population counts to be used for congressional apportionment. “Project dates are fluid,” the bureau said in a statement. “We continue to process the data collected and plan to deliver a complete and accurate state population count for apportionment in early 2021.” Documents provided to a U.S. House oversight committee indicated the counts may not be ready until after President-elect Joe Biden takes office on January 20.

Statewide population estimates released by the bureau last week are merely estimates built from the 2010 Census and “were created without incorporation or consideration of the 2020 Census results,” according to accompanying release notes. Texas has gained an estimated 4.2M residents since the 2010 Census. Using these estimates, Texas would gain three congressional districts, giving the state 39 U.S. House seats.

Electoral College Suit: A federal judge issued an order establishing a briefing schedule for U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert’s (R-Tyler) electoral college lawsuit against Vice President Mike Pence. Defendant’s response is due tomorrow (Thursday) at 5 p.m., and plaintiffs’ reply is due by 9 a.m. the next morning, according to District Judge Jeremy Kernodle’s order. No hearing is scheduled (or expected).

The suit, filed by Gohmert and the slate of Arizona’s Republican “electors,” seeks to have the Electoral Count Act declared unconstitutional and have the judge grant Pence the authority to overturn the election results in six states. Pence’s role in presiding over the January 6 joint session of Congress is largely ceremonial, unless the vice president’s unilateral authority to choose which electoral votes will be counted has been overlooked since the Twelfth Amendment was ratified in 1804 to prevent the election of a president and vice president who were political rivals instead of a unified ticket.

Meanwhile, at least four members of the Texas delegation have announced their intent to contest the electoral college result on January 6: U.S. Reps. Brian Babin (R-Woodville), Gohmert and Lance Gooden (R-Terrell) and U.S. Rep.-elect Ronny Jackson (R-Amarillo).

U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-Mo.) announcement that he would object to the electoral college results ensured a Congressional debate and vote on the election results-. Both Houses would have to vote to refuse any state’s official slate of electors.

©2020 Texas Election Source LLC