AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Republican Party of Texas is taking legal action to try to remove Democrat Pete Gallego from the ballot for the State Senate District 19 Special Election run-off.
District 19 stretches from San Antonio down to the border and into west Texas. According to court documents, the State GOP claims Gallego does not live “in any of the seventeen counties” of the district. Texas law requires a state senator to be a resident of the district for at least one year before the election.
Gallego was born and raised in Alpine, which is within the district in West Texas. He is registered to vote in Brewster County. But according to the lawsuit, Gallego lives with his family in southwest Austin. His wife is listed as the owner of a home in the Village of Western Oaks subdivision.
“He absolutely meets the residency requirement,” said Christian Archer, Gallego’s campaign manager. Archer said even though his wife owns an Austin home, Gallego spends most of the time at his mother’s home in Alpine and pays utility bills there. Archer called the lawsuit a “Hail Mary,” for Republicans trying to take a traditionally Democratic district.
The accusations also came up before the special election. Democratic challenger Roland Gutierrez accused Gallego of lying about his residency.
“We filed suit today to prevent this recurring pattern of deceit from being rewarded with a place on the ballot for the Texas Senate,” said Texas Republican Party Chair James Dickey. “It is very clear that Pete Gallego has not lived in Senate District 19, and does not live in Senate District 19,” Dickey added.
Gallego finished behind Republican Pete Flores in the July 31 Special Election for State Senate District 19. Eight candidates ran for the seat vacated by Democrat Carlos Uresti, who resigned after a fraud conviction. Flores did not receive more than 50 percent of the vote, leading to a runoff.