Texas GOP chairman sues secretary of state to get Rep. Farenthold off ballot

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, arrives for a House Committee on the Judiciary oversight hearing on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, in Washington. Two Republicans say that Texas GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold won't seek re-election next year. The lawmaker is under pressure from sexual misconduct allegations that surfaced three years ago but have come under renewed focus. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, arrives for a House Committee on the Judiciary oversight hearing on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, in Washington. Two Republicans say that Texas GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold won't seek re-election next year. The lawmaker is under pressure from sexual misconduct allegations that surfaced three years ago but have come under renewed focus. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The chairman of the Texas Republican Party, James Dickey, is suing the Texas secretary of state to get embattled Congressman Blake Farenthold off the March primary ballot.

In a statement sent to KXAN Political Reporter Phil Prazan, a Texas Republican Party spokesperson said, “It basically comes down to the fact that Mr. Farenthold has asked to be removed from the ballot and Chairman Dickey believes that the Republican Party of Texas should be able to do that.”

The congressman tried to withdraw his name from the ballot three days after the Dec. 12 deadline. Dickey argues in the lawsuit that Section 172.052(a) of the Election Code is “overbroad,” calling the deadline date arbitrarily set.

Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi, announced Thursday he would be retiring at the end of his term, which expires in 2019, following sexual harassment allegations made against him.

In a longer statement, Chairman Dickey said incongruous deadlines under Texas law are preventing the ballot removal from happening.

With this filing we are asking a federal court to resolve this issue and achieve the common-sense result that all parties want. It’s our expectation that this matter will be resolved quickly. Regardless of the result we are prepared to quickly move on to electing more Republicans throughout the great state of Texas.”

The House Ethics Committee is investigating whether Farenthold sexually harassed a former member of his staff and retaliated against her for complaining. The congressman used money from the U.S. Congressional Office of Compliance to pay Lauren Greene — a former communications director in his office — $84,000 in taxpayer funds to settle, NBC reported.

Farenthold’s district spans from Corpus Christi to Bastrop County and Caldwell County.

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