The Austin Chronicle

D.A.’s Race: Reed v. Cobb, Cont.

By Chase Hoffberger, January 13, 2016, 2:30pm, Newsdesk

Efforts on behalf of Democratic Travis County District Attorney candidate Rick Reed to remove competitor and presumed front-runner Gary Cobb from the ballot stalled Monday when the 3rd District Court of Appeals rejected a claim that the Travis County Democratic Party erred in not thoroughly examining the validity of the 500 necessary signatures on Cobb’s application petition (see “D.A.’s Race Heats Up With Lawsuit,” Jan. 8).

CCA Judge Cindy Olson Bourland wrote in a brief opinion that the details of the case extended beyond her court’s purview, and that Reed’s argument that Cobb had been so sloppy with his accumulation of signatures that his name should be tossed from the ballot would “ultimately fail to conclusively demonstrate the legal invalidity of a sufficient number of Cobb’s signatures.”

The story’s far from over, though. Before the rejection, the TCDP filed a separate petition with Judge Stephen Yelenosky’s 345th District Court to determine whether Cobb’s name should be permitted to remain active on the ballot. Whether or not his name could be removed altogether is now no longer an option, as the ballots for the March 1 primary finalized on Tuesday. Which puts the TCDP in an unenviable position: If Yelenosky does determine that Cobb’s name should be deactivated, it will become possible for voters to cast their ballot for a candidate who can’t technically run in the general election against Republican Maura Phelan.

The TCDP tried to get Yelenosky to make a quick ruling, but by Monday afternoon it became clear that wouldn’t happen. All parties are currently set to convene in the courtroom at 9am this Friday. So far, nobody besides Reed and his campaign staff have argued that Cobb should be disqualified for the way he handled the signatures.

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