In Re Dorman (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Jan 12, 2009)(Boyce) (election law mandamus)
(law prohibiting candidate from running for two offices at the same time enforced by injunction)
MOTION OR WRIT DENIED: Opinion by Justice Boyce
Before Justices Frost, Boyce, and Sullivan.
14-10-00024-CV In Re Steven Dorman
Appeal from a Harris County district court (Judge Al Bennett)
On January 11, 2010, relator, Steven Dorman, filed a petition for writ of mandamus in this Court. See Tex.
Gov’t Code Ann. §22.221 (Vernon 2004); Tex. Elec. Code Ann. § 273.061 (Vernon 2003); see also Tex. R.
App. P. 52. In the petition, relator asks this Court to compel the Honorable Al Bennett, presiding judge of the
164th District Court of Harris County, to set aside his January 8, 2010 injunction order directing Jared
Woodfill, in his capacity as Chairman of the Harris County Republican Party, to remove relator from the list of
candidates for Harris County District Clerk in the March 2, 2010 Republican Party primary.
On October 20, 2009, relator filed for re-election as a candidate for precinct chair. On January 4, 2010,
relator submitted a form to withdraw from the ballot as a candidate for precinct chair. Relator then filed as a
candidate for Harris County District Clerk before the filing deadline expired on January 4, 2010.
Section 172.052 of the Texas Election Code sets the deadline for the withdrawal of a candidate for
nomination from the general primary ballot not later than the 62nd day before the general primary election
day. Tex. Elec. Code Ann. § 172.052(a) (Vernon 2003). Section 172.061(a) expressly makes section
172.052(a) applicable to a candidate for precinct chair. Id. § 172.061(a) (Vernon 2003). Based on the
March 2, 2010 primary date, section 172.052(a) established a deadline of December 30, 2009 for relator to
withdraw as a candidate for precinct chair. Relator’s attempt to withdraw as a candidate for precinct chair on
January 4, 2010 was untimely.
Section 141.033(a) prohibits a candidate from running for two offices at the same time. Id. § 141.033(a)
(Vernon 2003). If a person files more than one application for a place on the ballot in violation of section
141.033, then the first-filed application controls and any subsequently filed applications are invalid. Id. §
141.033(b). Therefore, relator’s application for a place on the ballot for Harris County District Clerk for the
March 2, 2010 Republican Primary is invalid.
Relator argues that section 172.052’s deadline could lead to absurd results. However, the role of the courts
is to construe statutes as they are written. See Entergy Gulf States, Inc. v. Summers, 282 S.W.3d 433, 437
(Tex. 2009). Therefore, we cannot rewrite the Election Code. See Brown v. De La Cruz, 156 S.W.3d 560,
566 (Tex. 2004).
Relator has not established his entitlement to the extraordinary relief of a writ of mandamus. Accordingly, we
deny relator’s petition for writ of mandamus.
Panel consists of Justices Frost, Boyce, and Sullivan.