NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas (KXAN) - It's a familiar accusation. First, Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, said his primary opponent – Elizabeth Ames Jones – lived in the wrong place to run. Now, his campaign says something similar about his runoff challenger – Dr. Donna Campbell.
Wentworth scored highest in May's GOP primary with 35.8 percent, but not enough to secure the nomination. He was followed closely by Campbell with 33.7 percent and Jones with 30.5 percent. Still, questions linger about both women's residency.
Saying Campbell had only lived in the newly redrawn Senate District 25 for a few months before she filed for office, Wentworth's campaign has launched an attack against this emergency room physician who two years ago ran against Democratic Congressman Lloyd Doggett of Austin.
"There were items in the refrigerator longer than Donna Campbell had lived in this district," said Wentworth's spokesman Bryan Eppstein, pointing to a campaign filing, property records and voter registrations as his proof.
The districts runs from southwest Travis County down to Bexar County. It takes in much of Hays and Guadalupe counties and all of Comal and Kendall counties.
Indeed, Campbell lists a rental address on Mary's Cove in New Braunfels – which is in Guadalupe County – on her application to run for SD 25. Property records show she also owns a home on State Highway 71 in Colorado County, which is east of the district.
"We do rent," Campbell said. "We have our house up for sale, but we can't buy a new home until we sell our old home. We're not that privileged."
The Texas Secretary of State's office shows both Campbell and her husband changed their voting registration in November to Guadalupe County – where she also said she had lived for 2.5 months at that time. That timeframe would be in accordance with the state's election laws, as a Senate candidate must live in their district for at least a year prior to the general election.
"We have a lot of local leaders stepping forward to support him," Eppstein said of Wentworth, who has been a member of the Senate since 1993. "These are people who truly live and work in this district."
And according to the incumbent's campaign, many of Ames Jones' former supporters have now sided with him, despite her recent endorsement of Campbell – not a surprise considering the political tension between Ames Jones and Wentworth.
During the initial campaign season, Wentworth's campaign put out an ad alleging then Texas Railroad Commission Chairwoman Jones "swore falsely under oath about her residency to get on the ballot for state Senate."
When she filed for her state senate run late last year, Jones said she was a resident of San Antonio. However, the state Constitution says railroad commissioners must "reside at the capital of the state during (their) continuance in office."
Prior to the May 29 primary election, Wentworth accused Jones of violating the Constitution by keeping her office while claiming she lived in both places at the same time. After weeks of defending her move, Jones wrote a letter to Gov. Rick Perry resigning her statewide position.
Property records showed Jones owned a house with a homestead exemption in West Austin. In December, upon filing to run against Wentworth, she swore she had lives on Campden Circle in San Antonio since November 2008. That home was owned by her late father-in-law.
In a letter to supporters last week, Jones pointed out she and Campbell received almost two-thirds of primary votes. She said, "Vote to return this senate seat to its rightful owners."
She added that "64 percent of the people in the district agreed that it's time for a new senator with conservative principles."
Eppstein said the endorsement would do little to change the course of the runoff, as Campbell is a newcomer to the district. Whoever wins will face Democrat John Courage in November.
The expected winter weather has delayed initial construction work on MoPac until the rain and cold temperatures pass through.
A teacher from Texas was shot and killed while jogging in Benghazi, Libyan officials confirmed Thursday.
Family and friends held a vigil Wednesday at the State Capitol in hopes that a Bastrop man can win a new trial.
A bitterly cold arctic air mass plunging through Central Texas is breaking temperature records, and will be followed by a dangerous, potentially damaging ice storm.
The HealthCare.gov website is working more smoothly for central Texans.
City leaders in West Lake Hills discussed the ongoing concern with the city's water system Wednesday night. The problems arise when water is needed most; fighting fires.