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As we were leaving the office Friday, word came down that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (and former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement) got what they wanted from the U.S. Supreme Court: a ruling that, for now, stays those congressional and state House and Senate maps drawn up by U.S. District Judges Orlando Garcia and Xavier Rodriguez down in San Antonio. Said the AG in a statement issued Friday night: "The Texas Attorney General's Office is committed to protecting the integrity of Texas' elections by ensuring they are conducted based on legally constructed redistricting maps, and the Supreme Court's decision today is an important step in that direction." After briefs and responses are filed between now and the new year, oral arguments are set for January 9.
Last night, Abbott sent out another release -- this one explaining that come tomorrow morning, he (and Clement) will ask the Supremes to stay the candidate filing period for Texas Senate, Texas House and U.S. House of Representatives elections, an issue not addressed in Friday's ruling. (Primaries may be pushed back, from March 6 to May 22, but that's no sure thing.) Right now, the deadline for candidates in those races to file for office is December 15, but with the maps in legal limbo Abbott insists it would make sense to wait and see how the courts rule. From the release:
This request furthers the Texas Attorney General's stated goals of reducing uncertainty surrounding Texas' 2012 elections and protecting the integrity of Texas elections. Neither the State's request for a stay of the filing deadlines nor the stay issued Friday by the U.S. Supreme Court relate to or delay the filing periods or elections for any other office. Only the Texas Senate, Texas House of Representatives and U.S. House of Representatives elections are affected.
Which probably bums out, say, Carol Kent, who earlier this week announced she's running for the Democratic nomination in the judges' newly minted House District 107, which, till Friday at least, included parts of Lake Highlands, Garland and Mesquite. Kent, a one-termer vanquished in 2010 by Tea Party candidate and Barack Obama fan Stefani Carter after a particularly nasty campaign, said in a release dispatched earlier this week, "I am pleased to be running in the district where my family and I have lived for 17 years." Well, maybe ... Kent, though, is keeping hope alive, posting to Facebook Friday night that "we are confident the court will dissolve the stay and uphold the interim maps in the long run."