Democratic party deems Brown ineligible

Published 4:25 am Saturday, January 27, 2018

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader

It appears the next Orange County Judge will be a Republican as incumbent Stephen Brint Carlton and Dean Crooks are the only two remaining candidates in the race.

Donald Glenn Brown, the only Democrat in the race, was deemed ineligible according to a press release from the Orange County Democrat Party on Thursday. With overseas ballots already in the mail, his name will still appear on the Primary Ballots.

Brown had presented a check to the County Party Secretary, Michael Cole, at the time of his filing on December 11, 2017. The check, when deposited in the party bank account was returned for Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF).

John Baker stated, “The Texas Democratic Party pointed out that the Texas Election Code is very clear on the matter.”

He is referring to Texas Election Code 172.021 (b-2) which states,

If a payment of a filing fee is returned for insufficient funds after the end of the filing period, the application is not considered to be timely filed, and the authority receiving the application shall inform the applicant that the application was not valid

Party Secretary Michael Cole stated that a certified letter had been sent out to Brown.

“He will still appear on the primary ballot, but will be marked ineligible for the November general election,” Cole said.

Cole also stated, “We are confident that we have the message and the vision to push this county into a prosperous 21st Century. However, we will not do that by violating the law. No matter how embarrassing the consequences are.”

Brown denies the ineligibility of his application saying the check was written on the wrong account and deposited before he could submit the correct check to the party, according to a press release he sent on Thursday.

Brown also said he is considering seeking legal counsel.

“The Orange County Democratic Party has violated rules laws and most importantly your trust. I have been promised things will change after this primary. The people who have been complicit in the back room deals that violated candidates right to the ballot and violated your opportunity to have an actual voice in who represents you still have a brief hold on that power. These actions are casting a shadow over the up coming election,” Brown said in his press release.

Texas State Election Code reads: ‘LIMITATION ON CHALLENGE OF APPLICATION.  (a)  An application for a place on the ballot may not be challenged for compliance with the applicable requirements as to form, content, and procedure after the day before any ballot to be voted early by mail is mailed to an address in the authority’s jurisdiction for the election for which the application is made.

(b)  This section does not apply to a determination of a candidate’s eligibility.

(c)  A challenge must state with specificity how the application does not comply with the applicable requirements as to form, content, and procedure.  The authority’s review of the challenge is limited to the specific items challenged and any response filed with the authority by the challenged candidate.’

According to the Texas Secretary of State Communication Director Sam Taylor, Texas counties began sending out Military and Overseas Ballots on Saturday, January 20, and since the Orange County Democratic Party’s challenge to the “form, content, and procedure” of the candidate’s application (insufficient funds for filing fee) occurred after the 19th (“the day before any ballot to be voted early by mail is mailed…”), it is too late for him to be taken off the Primary ballot.

Another name, which will remain on the ballot, but for the Republican Party, is Kenneth Luce who has since dropped out of the race.

The Orange county Election Board has been notified a Democrat candidate has been deemed ineligible due to a Non Sufficient Funds check for the filing fee.

“The ballots are already printed,” Tina Barrow, Orange County Election Administration, said. “ His name will be the only one on the ballot for county judge as he did not have an opponent in the Primaries. The machine will still count the votes. His name won’t be on the ballot in November.”

The last day to file for the Primaries was Dec. 11, 2017.

Early voting for the March 6, 2018 Primaries begin Tues. February 20, 2018.