Democrats dispute House District 120 candidate's eligibility to be on ballot

Bexar County Democratic chair says signatures for ballot came up short

SAN ANTONIO – For 20 years, Texas House District 120 was represented by Ruth Jones McClendon. She stepped down earlier this year. Laura Thompson won a special election to replace her. Thompson is running for re-election, but according to the Bexar County Democratic Party, she shouldn’t be on the ballot in the first place.

Bexar County Democratic Party Chairman Manuel Medina outlined the case against Thompson, who is an independent. The Democratic Party claims Thompson didn’t have enough signatures to legally get on the ballot for House District 120.

"The secretary of state said, ‘Look at these mistakes. Pages and pages of mistakes,’” Medina said.

Thompson needed 500 signatures to get on the ballot, and she did turn in 616. But Medina said 121 of those signatures were invalid and 59 were fraudulent, putting her well under the 500 needed. It’s a claim Thompson disputes.

"I don't know about any fraudulent signatures, but I do know that there were some individuals that were eliminated for one reason or another by the Secretary of State's Office, but we still met the 500,” Thompson said.

The Secretary of State’s Office said it initially rejected Thompson’s first petition for not having enough valid signatures, but was under court order to reconsider it. They then found it was suitable, meaning Thompson was eligible to get on the ballot.

Thompson said she got the signatures fair and square.

"They really didn't want a competitor. Their dream was to walk into the seat unopposed. I don't have a problem with that, but I think people should have a choice,” Thompson said.

A judge will hear this case Thursday morning in Austin. If nothing changes, Thompson will face Democrat Barbara Gervin-Hawkins come Election Day. The winner will serve the new term beginning in January. 

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