Bottom-of-the-Barrel Replacement, Brian Hutcheson
Gottel didn’t abandon the ballot because Dallas County Republicans had a better candidate standing by. They were forced to reach all the way to the bottom of the barrel to pull out disgraced Republican Justice of the Peace Brian Hutcheson as their new candidate.
Who’s Brian Hutcheson? He’s the Dallas County JP who was just removed from the 2018 primary ballot because his candidate petitions were filled with so many fraudulent names and other inaccuracies that he couldn’t meet the minimum 250 needed to qualify.
So, just to be clear: Dallas County Republicans switched out a candidate who quit with a disgraced replacement who was ruled ineligible to run as JP. Hard to see the quitter for a cheater strategy paying off for Dallas Republicans.
And, state law likely does not even allow the Republicans to replace Todd Gottel. The Texas Election Code allows ballot replacements only when:
- The candidate has a catastrophic illness confirmed by medical professionals;
- There was no nominee from the other party; or
- The candidate is elected or appointed to fill a vacancy in another elective office; or the candidate is nominated for another office.
Dallas Republicans appointed Gottel to a precinct chair position to create the appearance of complying with the law. However, a Texas Attorney General opinion authored by now-Governor Greg Abbott says a precinct chair appointment is not sufficient:
“The Attorney General concluded that ‘a position within a political party is not a public office.’ TEx. Arr’y GEN. ()P. No. JG0562, at 3 (emphasis added). Accordingly, seeking the party precinct chair position did not constitute seeking an ‘office … under the laws of this State‘ within the meaning of Section 65(b) of the Article XVI, with the result that the resign-to-run constitutional provision was not triggered.”
Dallas County Republicans don’t even try to legitimately win support from voters anymore. They spent the spring trying to disqualify over a hundred eligible Democratic candidates, only to be slapped down by the State courts. Now, they are undermining the intent of state election law to repair damage done by a nominee who no longer has the stomach to carry the Republican banner.