Politics

Texas Democrats Drop Bid to Keep Farenthold on Ballot

Congressman announced last week he would not run again amid sexual harassment allegations

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, leaves the Capitol following final votes of the week last Thursday.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Texas Democrats dropped a lawsuit that would have attempted to keep retiring Rep. Blake Farenthold on the ballot in next year’s elections.

Farenthold last Thursday announced he would not seek re-election next year amid allegations of sexual harassment. But his decision came three days after the deadline to file for the primary. 

The Texas Republican Party had requested permission to keep Farenthold’s name off the ballot, but the secretary of state’s office said doing so would be illegal. But it said there was no way to force a party to submit an accurate list, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Democrats called the decision a “smoke-filled room deal.”

Watch: Ryan: Farenthold Leaving Congress Is ‘Right Decision’

“Only voters have the power to choose who leads our state and nation, not politicians and party officers in backroom decisions,” Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said. “Last we checked, this was Texas, not Russia.”

But after a judge refused Democrats’ request for an emergency order, the party dropped its lawsuit.

Chris Gober, a lawyer for the state GOP, said, “We think that the provision that prevents the removal of his name should remain in place 99 percent of the time.” But this instance was different given that Farenthold wanted his name off the ballot, he said.

The Texas secretary of state’s list of candidates will show Farenthold’s status as “withdrew” on the ballot.

“Given that ballots will be finalized in the coming hours, we chose to dismiss the case and proceed with the election process,” Hinojosa said.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.