Appeals court upholds ruling that convicted felon can remain on City Council District B runoff ballot

Cynthia Bailey talks to KPRC 2 on Aug. 28, 2019.
Cynthia Bailey talks to KPRC 2 on Aug. 28, 2019. (KPRC)

HOUSTON – The Texas First Court of Appeals has upheld a ruling by a lower court in the dispute over the Houston City Council District B runoff, allowing Cynthia Bailey, a convicted felon, to remain on the ballot.

In the opinion issued Tuesday, Chief Justice Sherry Radack and Justices Russell Lloyd and Julie Countiss said Renee Jefferson-Smith, who placed third in the Nov. 5 general election and contested Bailey’s eligibility, did not prove to the Houston mayor’s office that Bailey is ineligible.

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The justices agreed with the lower court judge who said the mayor’s office, which is responsible for declaring a candidate ineligible, has no fact-finding authority and the documents offered by Jefferson-Smith presented a question that needed to be answered.

The justices also suggested that an injunction might be a better way for Jefferson-Smith to resolve the issue.

Bailey, who finished second in the general election, was to face the first-place finisher, Tarsha Jackson, in a runoff last December. That race was removed from the runoff ballot after Jefferson-Smith’s lawsuit.

It was not immediately clear when the District B runoff would be put to the voters.

Below is a copy of the Appeals Court ruling.

About the Author:

Aaron Barker has been a senior digital editor at KPRC 2 since 2016. As a meteorologist, he specializes in stories about the weather. He has covered Hurricane Harvey, the Astros first World Series win, the Santa Fe High School shooting, the ITC fire and Tropical Storm Imelda.