A divided Third Court of Appeals panel dismissed as moot Republican candidates and groups’ lawsuit seeking to remove several Libertarian candidates from the ballot for not paying filing fees required by recently enacted Sec. 141.041(a), Election Code. The court determined that the suit, which was filed on the last day candidates’ names can be removed from the ballot, was filed too late.

“Even if this Court were to conclude based on the mandamus record that [Libertarian Party officials] have a statutory duty to declare [the candidates in question] ineligible, their names would remain on the ballot and any votes cast for them would be counted,” wrote Justice Chari Kelly (D) in the majority opinion (PDF). “No order that this Court might enter would be effective to change this result.”

Chief Justice Jeff Rose (R) dissented, but he generally agreed that the candidates in question could not have their names removed from the ballot. “I disagree with the majority’s conclusion that the relators are left with no legally cognizable interest in determining their opponents’ eligibility,” he wrote in his dissenting opinion (PDF). “Rather than dismiss these proceedings as moot, we should address the merits of relators’ eligibility challenges after allowing adequate time for briefing.”

A lawsuit filed four days earlier by several Democratic candidates and groups succeeded in removing three Green Party candidates from the ballot for not filing the required fees. Another candidate withdrew after it was revealed he voted in the Democratic primary, making him ineligible for the Green Party’s nomination.

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. A bench trial is scheduled for July 2, 2021.

SD30 special (Safe Republican): Decatur farmer and software consultant Andy Hopper filed for the seat being vacated by Sen. Pat Fallon (R-Prosper). The filing deadline is Friday.

DCCC Targets: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee added three more Texas districts to its target list:

  • CD3 (Lean Republican) – U.S. Rep. Van Taylor (R-Plano) faces Lulu Seikaly
  • CD6 (Lean Republican) – U.S. Rep. Ron Wright (R-Arlington) faces Stephen Daniel; and
  • CD25 (Lean Republican) – U.S. Rep. Roger Williams (R-Austin) faces Julie Oliver.

They join seven other Republican-held districts already on the list: CD2, CD10, CD 21, CD22 open, CD23 open, CD24 open and CD31.

CD7 (Lean Democratic): The campaign of Republican challenger Wesley Hunt released its first general election ad, “America’s Story,” a biographical spot.

The American Chemistry Council released a new ad, “Highlighting Rep. Lizzie Fletcher,” highlighting the Democratic incumbent’s COVID-related manufacturing advocacy.

CD21 (Toss Up): U.S. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Austin) and former Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) are tied, 46%-46%, according to an ALG Research poll (PDF) conducted for End Citizens United. Democratic challenger Joe Biden leads President Trump, 48%-47%, in the district. Biden leads among independents, 52%-37%, who on balance view Trump’s job performance negatively (37/62). The poll of 500 “likely voters” was in the field August 15-20. The margin of error is ±4.4%.

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