The Texas Democratic Party won Thursday's battle against the Green Party — but the war isn't over yet.
A Travis County District Court judge granted a temporary restraining order that will prevent the Green Party from certifying any candidates for the November ballot for the next 14 days. The big question is whether the Green Party's use of out-of-state money to gather the more then 92,000 signatures it submitted to get on the ballot (well above the 44,000 necessary) violates state law. Democrats fear that the Green Party's resurgence is a GOP-fueled effort to peel away Democratic votes.
In this morning's The Dallas Morning News, Wayne Slater traced the origins of the signatures:
"The petition drive on behalf of the Green Party was spearheaded by Tim Mooney, a GOP consultant from Arizona with a history of working for conservative causes and Republican candidates. Mooney arranged for a Chicago-based petition-gathering firm to collect the signatures with money from a Missouri group called Take Initiative America."
Regarding today's decision, TDP General Counsel Chad Dunn said, "The public should view this as a victory for fair elections." Ultimately, he said, his goal is to expose a "conspiracy between Dave Carney and Tim Mooney," the former being a prominent adviser to Republican Gov. Rick Perry.
The issue will be revisited at a hearing set for 9 a.m. on June 24. In the meantime, Dunn says he will be in the discovery process getting to the bottom of what he referred to as "this Republican Rick Perry conspiracy."
Perry's campaign has said that the governor was not involved and has no knowledge of the Green Party's efforts.
In a press release that traced Carney’s ties to a group Mooney ran to collect signatures for 2004 Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader, Democratic consultant Matt Angle called for Perry to drop his adviser. “Carney has worked directly with the Republican operatives who conceived and managed the Green Party ballot scam,” Angle said. “Perry and Carney’s failure to disclose their connection to the scam is inexcusable. Both have betrayed the trust of Texas voters.”
"Who is Matt Angle?" responded Perry spokesman Mark Miner. "He would better serve his party by getting his candidate to apologize to the people of Texas for steering business to a company he profited off of during Hurricane Rita instead of making wild allegations."