Terry Keel Knocks Opponents Off Ballot By Scrutinizing Their Petitions

The Statesman reports that former state Rep. Terry Keel managed to remove both his Republican opponents from the upcoming the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals primary ballot after he personally scrutinized their petitions to find discrepancies. As the only Republican candidate with no challenger, that means he is already the defacto winner.

The first casualty came Saturday, when Republican officials accepted Keel’s challenge and refused to place the incumbent, Justice Charles Holcomb, on the ballot for lack of valid signatures.

“I didn’t know, until my opponent disclosed it, that some nine people had signed (duplicate petitions),” Holcomb said. “Therefore, I lacked about five signatures.”

But when party officials refused Keel’s challenge against Robert Francis, a Dallas district judge, Keel sued GOP officials in Travis County to keep Francis’ name off the March 7 primary ballot.

Keel may be following (and enforcing) the rules, but there’s something about the maneuver that leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. Can clean politics smack of dirty pool? But it does send a message to future political candidates that they better make extra sure that they have their t’s crossed and i’s dotted on their petition forms if they want to be elected.

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