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Candidate with same name as opponent concerned voters will be confused on ballot

HOUSTON – In the race for Harris County Precinct 2 Constable, one candidate is concerned a fellow candidate with the same name will cause confusion among voters.

“Our voters and supporters are going to be confused. For 14 and-a-half months I’ve been campaigning as Jerry Garcia,” said Lt. Jerry Garcia, who is running for constable in the Democratic primary. “I wish it would have been handled better.”

Lt. Jerry Garcia is a career law enforcement officer who is currently a lieutenant in a neighboring precinct. He’s worried because another Jerry Garcia’s name is on the ballot. That Jerry Garcia is a cousin, by marriage, to incumbent Precinct 2 Constable Chris Diaz.

“It’s an obvious attempt by the constable and his cousin, Jerry Garcia, to deceive our voters,” Lt. Garcia said.

Not true, says Diaz campaign official. After KPRC 2 called Diaz for comment, a campaign member responded:

“The Constable had no idea his cousin was running until a day after he filed for election, which was a day after the filing deadline. He never asked him to run and didn’t even know he had political aspirations. In fact, the constable called him to ask why he was running and then asked him to withdraw,” the campaign member told KPRC.

It does not appear the other Jerry Garcia even mounted a campaign. KPRC 2 could find no campaign website or social media accounts. On the Texas Secretary of State’s website, no campaign email was even listed for the other Jerry Garcia.

KPRC 2 reached out to the other Jerry Garcia but did not receive a response.

Lt. Garcia provided KPRC 2 with documents, showing the other Jerry Garcia has now withdrawn from the race, which was verified by officials with the Harris County Democratic Party.

To make matters more confusing, Lt. Garcia showed KPRC conflicting emails form the Harris County Democratic Party. The first one read the other Garcia’s name will still appear on the ballot but his votes won’t count, followed by a second email reading that was wrong and the votes will count.

That second email stated the other Garcia withdrew too late to be taken off the ballot or to have his votes not count. The email further reads if he makes it into a runoff, he can withdraw at that time.

“I was totally blindsided,” Lt. Garcia said.

The only concession Lt. Garcia said he got is his name will now appear on the ballot as Jerry Garcia, Harris County Lieutenant.

“Maybe we can do a better job next time to avoid this,” Lt. Garcia said.

Officials with the Democratic Party told KPRC 2 that this is a rare occurrence and unfortunately, state election code prevents them from doing much differently then helping differentiate the names with a title.