Montgomery County Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack is challenging Democrat Lore Breitmeyer Jones’ candidate filing for the March 2020 Democratic primary election for Precinct 3 commissioner, Noack announced via his re-election campaign.
According to a petition filed Dec. 16 in the 284th Judicial District Court in Montgomery County, Noack is seeking to compel Montgomery County Democratic Party Chair Marc Meyer to reject Jones’ filing and to remove Jones from the March Democratic primary election ballot. Noack alleges that Jones, who currently serves as deputy-chair for the county’s Democratic party, submitted her candidate application to Meyer after the state's filing deadline.
Candidates running for Montgomery County commissioner in 2020 were required to file an application with their party’s county chair along with either a $1,250 filing fee or a nominating petition containing at least 500 voters' signatures, according to information from the Texas Secretary of State’s office. Texas election law states that primary candidates must file prior to 6 p.m. on the second Monday in December of odd-numbered years, which in 2019 fell on Dec. 9.
According to a Dec. 10 statement from the county Democratic party, Jones arrived at the party’s headquarters at 5:45 p.m. Dec. 9 to file her application but had to wait for two other candidates to complete their filings with Meyer. Jones eventually presented Meyer with her filing application and signed petitions, but after realizing the petitions may not have met the 500-signature threshold, Jones elected to file by paying a fee, according to the party.
“Ms. Jones was prepared for this eventuality and had a cashier’s check at headquarters to pay the filing fee,” Meyer said in the statement. “After discussing the matter with the Texas Democratic Party, Ms. Jones and I made the decision to accept her filing fee instead of considering the petitions.”
Noack's campaign spokesman Allen Blakemore said Meyer informed a reporter with The Courier that he was still reviewing the applications of two candidates after the 6 p.m. filing deadline on Dec. 9. In his statement, Meyer said he did not process Jones’ application until after emailing The Courier reporter, Catherine Dominguez. A copy of Meyer’s message to Dominguez marked at 6:29 p.m. was included in Noack’s Dec. 16 court filing.
“If any of that took place after 6 p.m., it’s a fatally flawed filing. So then the party puts out a press release, they’ve now admitted to all of the errors,” Blakemore said.
When contacted on Dec. 16, Meyer declined to comment on the specifics of Jones’ filing and referred further comment to his attorney.
“The filing speaks for itself, and I’ll answer Mr. Noack’s charges in court,” Meyer said.
Meyer's attorney, Claire Lindsay, said Meyer had not yet been served a copy of Noack's claim and declined to comment on the specifics of Jones' election filing.
“He hasn’t been served yet," Lindsay said. "We have to kind of go through the legal process, but we’re looking forward to addressing it in the court."
Noack’s campaign originally said the county Democratic party was “stonewalling” a request for Jones’ filing application and signed petitions on Dec. 10. Later that day, the campaign learned Jones had filed her application using a fee rather than a petition and announced it was preparing to take legal action against Meyer.
“Even they don’t seem to dispute the facts, they just act like the 6:00 deadline is not relevant. According to the election code, it is,” Blakemore said.
According to the Secretary of State’s office, Jones' candidate application for Precinct 3 commissioner in the March Democratic party primary was filed on Dec. 9, while Noack’s application for the March Republican party primary was filed Dec. 2. Jones and Noack were the only candidates to file for the Precinct 3 commissioner race in their respective parties.
Noack was first elected as Precinct 3 commissioner in 2012, when he defeated Democrat Bryan Cambrice in the November general election. Following a victory over Republican primary election challenger Jay Mac Sanders in March 2016, he ran unopposed and was re-elected in November 2016.