Texas GOP sues Gallego over residency

August 10, 2018 GMT

The Texas Republican Party on Friday sued Democrat Pete Gallego, claiming he lives outside Senate District 19 where he’s seeking a seat in a special election runoff.

Gallego, a former U.S. and state representative, finished second in a July 31 special election, behind Republican Pete Flores, a retired state game warden. Neither candidate received enough votes to win outright.

State law requires that candidates live continuously in the district they’re seeking for at least six months ahead of the filing deadline.

“It’s common knowledge Gallego does not live in Senate District 19,” state GOP Chairman James Dickey said in a news release. “His wife’s name is on a home outside of Senate District 19. He has for years lived with his family in Austin, where his wife has a homestead exemption; this is well-known and well-documented.”

The lawsuit cites an Express-News column that found Gallego’s wife, Maria Elena Ramon, claims a homestead exemption in Austin, which is not in the senate district. Photos show Gallego leaving the home and his truck parked in the driveway there. He is registered to vote in Brewster County and has said he lives in Alpine, the county seat.

Former state Sen. Carlos Uresti, a convicted felon, vacated the seat in June around the time he was sentenced to 12 years in prison for 11 felony charges, including fraud and money laundering.

The party said it also filed a complaint to the Texas Ethics Commission, alleging that Gallego failed to report real estate interests in Travis County.

Gallego’s and Flores’ campaigns did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Jasper Scherer is a staff writer in the San Antonio and Bexar County area. Read him on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | jscherer@express-news.net | Twitter: @jaspscherer