Dallas County

Dallas Democrats Accuse Former GOP State House Candidate of Submitting Fraudulent Application

Dallas County Democrats are calling for an investigation into a GOP candidate for the Texas House.
Dallas County Democrats are calling for an investigation into a GOP candidate for the Texas House. Getty Images
In recent months, Texas Republicans have been warning of election fraud. Now, Dallas County Democrats are pushing back with their own claims that a GOP candidate for state House submitted a fraudulent application.

Last week, a lawyer wrote the district attorney's office on behalf of Dallas County Democratic Party Chair Kristy Noble. The Democrats allege that Texas House District 114 candidate Mark Hajdu, a Republican, falsely stated that he still lived within that district. They also claim that his wife, Dallas County Republican Party Chair Jennifer Stoddard-Hajdu, signed off on the false filing.

The Hajdus' alleged goal? To hand-pick a good Republican contender to square off with the Democratic nominee after Hajdu’s candidacy was declared ineligible, Noble argues.

The way Noble sees it, it’s implausible that the Hajdus didn’t realize that they no longer lived in HD 114, which was redrawn last year. On top of Stoddard-Hajdu's position as county GOP chair, she said, her husband has served as a local precinct chair.

At the same time, Republicans at every level of government have continuously cried “fraud,” she added. “It seems again and again, we are at least seeing the implication of impropriety on the Republican side,” Noble said. “And so it just seems that the call of the ‘Big Lie’ is really all projection.”

Noble later said Texas is the most difficult state in which to vote. Sometimes, people avoid the ballot box because they feel their vote doesn’t matter and that the system is rigged.

“These types of improprieties perpetuate that feeling, and so making it harder to vote and then breaking the election code in the law to cherry-pick a candidate is doing nothing but deteriorating our democracy and faith in our democracy,” she said. “That's why we filed the complaint.”

The Democrats have published a copy of the purported false filing, an event timeline, a legal memorandum and the letter to the DA's Public Integrity Unit. The memo argues that the Hajdus should be charged "for a state jail felony for knowingly making a false entry in a governmental record."

Calls to the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office weren’t returned by publication time.

"Our voters deserve to have the processes followed by both sides, by both parties, to make sure that everything is fair." – Kristy Noble, Dallas County Democratic Party chair

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Hadju’s campaign expenditures total $750, and he’s received $0 in donations, per campaign finance website Transparency USA. The filing fee listed on Hajdu’s application was $750.

Democrats claim that Hajdu never made a campaign announcement and that he hasn’t mentioned his candidacy on social media. But they say he’s active on Facebook, where he purportedly posts about others’ races.

The county Democrats also say the couple, who now live in HD 108, would have noticed that Hajdu was not listed as a candidate on their ballot when they voted in the primary. They further claim that the Hajdus knew of a prior GOP candidate for HD 114 who had to drop out of the race following redistricting.

In addition, the memo alleges that the couple "intended to defraud" Democratic contender John Bryant by letting Hajdu remain on the ballot through the primary.

Republicans wouldn't have been allowed to replace Hajdu with another candidate if he had withdrawn from the race, the memo states. They can, however, if Hajdu is deemed ineligible.

The memo also notes that on the Secretary of State’s website, Hajdu has been deemed ineligible, although it's unclear by whom.

Reached by phone, Hajdu slammed the Democrats’ claims as “absolutely inaccurate” and “fraudulent.” He then promised to call back before hurriedly ending the call. He neither called back nor did he respond to a subsequent voicemail and email.

A representative with the Dallas County Republican Party responded to the Observer’s inquiry on behalf of Stoddard-Hajdu. “This allegation is totally without merit,” Stoddard-Hajdu said, according to the GOP representative. “It’s political harassment, pure and simple, and it's going nowhere.”

The timeline of events laid out by the Democrats notes that Hajdu filed for HD 114 on Dec. 13, the final day of filing. Had he not done so, the Democrats would have run their candidate unopposed.

To Noble, it doesn’t seem like there should be a Republican candidate in HD 114.

“We want free, fair elections,” she said. “Our voters deserve to have the processes followed by both sides, by both parties, to make sure that everything is fair. It appears that that was not done in this case.”
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Simone Carter, a staff news reporter at the Dallas Observer, graduated from the University of North Texas' Mayborn School of Journalism. Her favorite color is red, but she digs Miles Davis' Kind of Blue.
Contact: Simone Carter