I’ll be honest, as usual. I have no idea who Paul Coselli is or why he filed to challenge Judge Sylvia Matthews in the Harris County Republican Party primary election for Judge of the 281st Civil District Court. If you look at the candidate comparison page, you’ll find very little information about him. And if you look at the Harris County Republican Party primary page, you won’t even find his name.
The reason for the now lack of information about him on the HCRP page is that he is no longer on the ballot. I have a copy of his rejection on the ballot as follows:
Judge Matthews, Mr. Coselli, and Mr. Najvar:We reviewed Paul Coselli’s application to be a candidate on the 2018 Republican Primary ballot for the 281st District Court, for compliance with requirements as to form, content, and procedure, and per advice from the Texas Secretary of State. We have also reviewed Judge Matthews’ later challenge to Mr. Coselli’s application, Mr. Coselli’s response, and subsequent replies from both, as to the specific items challenged.Mr. Coselli’s application does not satisfy Election Code requirements. Attached is a spreadsheet (a revised version of that submitted by the parties) that summarizes our analysis. After accounting for challenges and rebuttals, plus facial invalidity of parts of the application, Mr. Coselli’s petition lacks the required number of valid signatures.
(Note: The spreadsheet accounts for only the referenced items, not all possible challenges.)
In conclusion, Mr. Coselli’s application does not comply with the requirements of the Texas Election Code and is REJECTED. Therefore, Mr. Coselli’s name will not appear on the 2018 Republican Primary ballot.As a courtesy, please “Reply to All” to confirm that you received this notice. Thank you.Paul Simpson, County Chair
Harris County Republican Party
So just as I was writing a note for the comparison page to say that Mr. Coselli was no longer on the ballot, I get this:
Attorney Eric Dick was able to obtain a Temporary Restraining Order to keep Mr. Coselli on the ballot. Perhaps.
I talked to the HCRP Executive Director Ben McPhaul about this. He told me that he had received a complaint from Judge Matthews about the petition that Mr. Coselli had submitted. Mr. McPhaul reviewed the complaint and submitted it to the Coselli campaign and the response was not acceptable. As of this afternoon, Mr. Coselli is still off the ballot.
Mr. Dick thinks that this is a coordinated effort by the Harris County Republican Party to keep Mr. Coselli off the ballot. When I talked to Mr. Dick, I was skeptical and asked how keeping candidates off the ballot could possibly help the party. He was adamant that it was a conspiracy by the party and in addition to Mr. Coselli’s complaint, he mentioned two other candidates that in his mind are being conspired against: Melanie Flowers and Sharon Hemphill. I did confirm with Mr. McPhaul that complaints have been filed against the campaigns of Ms. Flowers and Ms. Hemphill. When I talked to Mr. McPhaul this afternoon, he had not received a response from those two campaigns and they remained on the ballot. I think that he said that the campaigns had until tomorrow to respond.
Why is this important? Well, for starters, you have three candidacies hanging in the balance. How hard is it to submit legally correct petitions?
Beyond starters, to me, and me only, this seems like a coordinated attempt not to keep people off the ballot but to affect the race for the chairman of the Harris County Republican Party. There is no reason whatsoever that I can fathom for the chair of the Party to keep people off the ballot. Seriously, between you, me and the fencepost, how does Paul Simpson benefit from this? Good luck with that one.
Here is what I think, take it with the requisite grain of salt. The only people that benefit from candidates being disqualified are the ones in the races where someone is disqualified. The party doesn’t benefit one way or the other, in my opinion.
If candidates can’t figure out the law surrounding petitions, perhaps they don’t deserve to be on the ballot. Just my two cents.
The challenges to the campaigns of Melanie Flowers and Sharon Hemphill have not been upheld and both candidates will remain on the ballot.