Justice of the peace sues Republican Party chairwoman

12/18/2013 8:04 PM

12/18/2013 8:05 PM

A Tarrant County justice of the peace has sued the Tarrant County Republican chairwoman who declared her ineligible to be on the March primary ballot.

Jacquelyn Wright has served as the justice of the peace in Precinct 4 since the 1990s.

The suit, filed this week in a civil District Court in Tarrant County, alleges that County Republican Chairwoman Jennifer Hall declared Wright ineligible to be on the ballot because she did not have enough signatures on a submitted petition.

Hall said Wednesday that she is aware of the suit and referred questions to Kevin Carey, an attorney representing the Tarrant County Republican Party. Carey could not be reached for comment.

“I’ve heard about the suit, but I haven’t been served and I haven’t seen it,” Hall said.

According to the lawsuit, Wright submitted an eight-page petition on Nov. 2 with 351 signatures along with her application and filing fee for the primary ballot. She also submitted an affidavit indicating that the signatures were valid.

“Hall was not required to verify the validity of signatures due to the oath sworn by the petition circulators. As Chair, Hall is the final canvassing authority for the Tarrant County Republican Primary General Election,” the lawsuit says.

On Dec. 13, Hall informed Wright that she was ineligible to be on the ballot because she failed to submit enough signatures. She did not give any other reason for declaring Wright ineligible, according to the lawsuit.

The minimum number of signatures needed to qualify to be on the ballot is 250.

Vickie L. Phillips, a Republican, has also filed in the Precinct 4 race.

The suit accuses Hall of violating Texas election laws and the plaintiff’s constitutional right to run for office and have her name on the March 4 primary ballot.

Wright is also seeking a temporary restraining order against Hall.

“The damages sustained by Plaintiff [Wright] in losing her right to proceed as a candidate in the upcoming election are difficult to calculate and quantify, and any judgment herein would come too late,” the lawsuit states.

Wright’s attorneys, Daniel Sullivan and Steve Maxwell, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

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