Monday wasn't a great day for the Dallas County Republican Party. Already down to one countywide officeholder and a single spot on the commissioner's court, the Dallas GOP and its new chairwoman, Missy Shorey, had its lawsuit against the Dallas County Democratic Party — the one that would've wiped dozens of Democratic candidates off November ballots — dismissed. Shorey, Dallas County District Judge Eric Moyé said, didn't have standing to file the suit because she wasn't running for office in November.
Shorey filed her suit on a technicality. Carol Donovan, her counterpart at the Dallas County Democratic Party, hadn't personally signed each of her party's candidates for office's ballot applications, as is required by the Texas election code.
Democrats, including Donovan, cried foul. Shorey, they said, was trying to keep Democrats off the ballot by any means necessary. The lawsuit was just another attempt by Texas Republicans to disenfranchise black, Latino and Democratic voters, opponents said.
On Thursday, three days after Moyé's ruling, Shorey told the Observer that she filed the suit with good intentions.
"We certainly have put the folks on the left on notice that we expect the law to be followed to the letter of the law and that they need to do their job," Shorey said. "I'm still kind of curious as to why we have an election code if it just gets to be bent at will, but ultimately, we are just sitting back and assessing what we're going to do next."
Shorey and the Dallas GOP haven't decided whether they're going to appeal Moyé's decision or the grounds under which they would do so. Still, Shorey believes that Moyé, a Democrat, should've recused himself from the case.
"We want to see the election code followed properly. That's not happening here," Shorey said. "His conduct was really ... he raised his voice at one point, screaming at our attorney, rolling his eyes. ... This is just behavior that ... I hold the courts in extremely high regard, and that just seems incongruent."
West Dallas state Rep. Eric Johnson, one of the candidates who would've been knocked off the ballot had the lawsuit been successful, blasted the Dallas County Republican Party shortly after the ruling for trying to take November's election out of the hands of voters shortly after the ruling.
“This frivolous lawsuit was a thinly veiled attempt by the Dallas County Republican Party to take away the ability of minority voters in Dallas County to elect the candidates of their choice," Johnson said Monday in a written statement. "The Republican Party seems to be doing everything in its power to show minority voters that it has little regard for them at the national, state, and now local level."
Shorey dismissed Johnson's statement, claiming that he was unfairly playing the race card against her and her party.
"No [one] would've batted an eye if a Republican was kicked off a ballot because we didn't follow the law, and the law needs to be upheld. There is no other remedy," Shorey said. "It is unfortunate that identity politics is a go-to answer for Democrats every time something doesn't go their way. ... We came at this without any form of bias."
As midterm elections near, Shorey said, the Dallas County GOP will be watching closely for any potential chicanery by Democrats with regard to mail-in ballots or anything else.
"We will be working to win elections, to connect with voters and to make sure that we defend democracy in Dallas," Shorey said. "That certainly includes making sure that there isn't fraud in the election."
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She credited the recent prosecutions of two women in Tarrant County for illegal voting — and their sentences of eight and five years in prison, respectively — for making potential fraudsters think twice before harvesting votes.
"People are going to jail over this. Maybe someone who's going out and vote harvesting will say, 'You know, maybe my freedom is more important than defrauding the sanctity of the elections in Dallas County,'" Shorey said. "I don't think [the two women who voted illegally] ever thought they'd go to jail."
Shorey points to November's Dallas County district attorney's race, the battle over Pete Sessions' U.S. House seat, and the race for the Texas House District 107 seat currently occupied by freshman Democrat Victoria Neave as contests she believes Republicans can win despite a national climate that seems tilted toward Democrats.
"Voters in Dallas County are very intelligent. If you look at the numbers, Pete Sessions outperformed Donald Trump by 30,000 votes. They know the difference between federal and local politics and who is working in their best interest," Shorey said. "People have different views of the president. They have a right to those views, but when it comes to our candidates, they know who's working for them. They know who's going to keep the Texas miracle alive as opposed to sabotaging us and turning us into another wasteland like California or New York."