The Brief: Top Texas News for July 28, 2010

Brian Birdwell
Brian Birdwell

THE BIG CONVERSATION:

Being in two places at once, it turns out, might not be all it's cracked up to be.

The Tribune's Ross Ramsey reports today that Granbury state Sen. Brian Birdwell, elected in June in a special-election runoff to succeed state Sen. Kip Averitt, voted in the 2004 presidential election twice — once in Texas and again in Virginia, according to election records.

Besides provoking legal questions, given that voting twice in the same election is a third-degree felony in Texas, the voting records could endanger Birdwell's seat in the Legislature, whose residency — if his record of voting in Virginia as recently as 2006 places his residency there — could deem him ineligible to serve until November 2011. Birdwell's current term ends in January, but he's the Republican nominee for a two-year term that would pick up that same month.

Birdwell, who has faced questions surrounding his residency since launching his campaign, issued a statement via e-mail in response to the findings: "These questions have been asked and answered by the voters of SD-22. My candidacy was certified by the Secretary of State. My case was upheld by an appellate judge. I was elected overwhelmingly by the people. I was sworn into office by both the Governor and Lt. Governor of Texas, and I just received a unanimous vote to be the Republican nominee for November. I think it's time to move on now and get down to the business of serving the people of SD-22."

 

As Ramsey notes, the news gives an opening to others interested in the seat, but the clock is ticking: Republicans have less than a month, until Aug. 20, to remove Birdwell from the ballot if he doesn't withdraw or isn't disqualified, and Democrats have the same deadline for fielding their own nominee.

CULLED:

  • Bill White has a new ad set to run in San Antonio touting his connections to the city.
  • And if you haven't already, check out the snazzy Trib/El Paso Times collaboration exploring political trends in Texas ahead of the fall election season.

"I certainly wouldn’t turn it down if the president wants to send National Guard troops out here to assist us in gathering information and supporting our ability to keep our community safe. I just wonder, though, if the resources aren’t misdirected." — El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles in an interview with the Tribune

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