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Former JP Candidate Considers Legal Action

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POSTED: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 - 5:50pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 - 7:14pm

EL PASO--- A former Justice of the Peace candidate is considering taking legal action after incumbent Sissy Hernandez pled guilty to nepotism charges Tuesday, rendering her ineligible to keep running.

The news hit former JP precinct #2 candidate Charles "Chuck" Taylor hard.

The judge ordered Hernandez to never seek a judicial office again, making her withdrawal mandatory.
The withdrawal will automatically give the seat to Brian Haggerty, who was supposed to be her runoff opponent.

Last Tuesday, Brian Haggerty won 27.2 percent of the vote, and Sissy Hernandez won 26.54 percent.

They were supposed to run against each other in a run-off next month.

 Alex Melendez followed with 18.7 percent, then Joe Gandara with 14.87 percent, then did Taylor with just 12.27 percent of the vote.

"It is best that I now resign to try to heal the wounds," said Hernandez in a public statement Tuesday.

"What wounds? The disenfranchising of the 20-something percent votes that are now thrown out?" said Taylor incredulously.

Taylor suggests if Hernandez had not been allowed to run, based on her suspension from the bench, her more than 1,000 votes could have made a difference in the race. Probably allowing for a different run-off election.

"It seems to me that there's a big question mark, and the only way this question mark can be eliminated is that the election be repeated," said Taylor, hoping the four candidates left could square off again.

But the Texas Election code doesn't provide for that.
"On receipt of the statement of withdrawal, the remaining candidate is the winner, and a second election or casting of lots is not held," reads the code.

It's a law Taylor says is unfair, and might require some legal action.

"I might attempt to fight this. For this might be a public issue, that an opinion has to be issued by the attorney for the state," said Taylor.

If he does pursue this, Taylor said he was not sure if he'd hire a lawyer or go through the legislative process to try to amend it.

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