A state district judge issued a temporary restraining order preventing the certification of two Green Party candidates for the November general election. David Collins, the party’s nominee for U.S. Senate, and CD21 nominee Tom Wakely cannot be certified until at least the conclusion of a hearing next week, at which District Judge Jan Soifer (D) will decided whether to make the injunction permanent.

In her order, Soifer said Collins and Wakely were “indisputably ineligible” for placement on the general election ballot.

In a separate ruling, a divided panel of the Third Court of Appeals ruled that Wakely and Railroad Commission nominee Kat Gruene were ineligible to appear on the ballot and directed the Green Party to ensure they do not appear on the ballot.

At issue is a state law enacted in 2019 that requires candidates nominated by convention to pay filing fees that used to apply only to candidates nominated by primary elections. Collins, Greune and Wakely did not pay those filing fees. Instead, they relied on a temporary injunction issued by a state district judge which was promptly stayed pending appeal.

The suit in Soifer’s court, which was filed by U.S. Senate candidate M.J. Hegar and Democratic groups on Monday, could have broad implications for minor party candidates on the November ballot. Most Green and Libertarian candidates did not pay the new filing fee required by Sec. 141.041(a), Election Code, and many of those candidates filed after the temporary injunction on its enforcement was issued by District Judge Kristen Hawkins (D). The deadline to file as write-in candidates was Monday, which would leave no avenue to get back on the ballot if the provision were enforced.

The other lawsuit was filed at the Third Court of Appeals by CD21 candidate Wendy Davis and Railroad Commission candidate Chrysta Castañeda, and it has similar implications.

Last year, the Green and Libertarian Parties, among other plaintiffs, filed state and federal suits challenging the filing fee provision. The state case is pending before the Fourteenth Court of Appeals, which heard oral arguments on June 23. The federal case will not be decided until after the election and likely not until after the 2021 legislative session. Under an order issued July 20, dispositive motions are due March 2, 2021 and a bench trial is scheduled for July 2, 2021.

Monday is the last day a candidate’s name may be omitted from the ballot. August 28 is the deadline for the Secretary of State to certify candidates for the general election ballot.

The Green Party’s nominee for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court withdrew earlier this week because his participation in this year’s Democratic primary made him ineligible to be nominated by another party.

SD30 special: Sen. Pat Fallon (R-Prosper) will time his resignation to ensure the seat is filled for the entirety of the 2021 legislative session. During an appearance on the Mark Davis Show, Fallon said he would guarantee there would be no gap between senators serving the district. Earlier this month, Fallon was selected to replace former U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Heath) as the Republican nominee for CD4.

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