Reid won’t contest county election ruling

Published 10:23 pm Thursday, July 29, 2010

Robert Reid, candidate for Justice of the Peace, Precinct 2, announced Thursday he will not contest a recent decision to remove his name from the ballot.

On July 13, Jefferson County Judge Ron Walker, ruled to remove Reid citing alleged Election Code violations. He was to face Marc Derouen, who has served as an investigative attorney for a local law firm for 17 years. Derouen defeated Richard “Dickie” White during the March Democratic primary and Reid was running as an independent.

Walker ruled in favor of Derouen, who cited the Election Code, which requires candidates on oath to attest the candidate witnessed each signer to the petition. Derouen alleged Reid had at least three other people circulating the petition.

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Reid contends he gathered the signatures properly, according to the Secretary of State’s website.

Of the 271 signatures gathered for Reid, a total of 235 were registered voters who had not voted in the Democratic primary.

“This is a decision I make reluctantly,” Reid said Thursday. “My legal counsel, former Judge Rick Williams, has spent nearly two weeks researching our case and felt we had an 85 to 90 percent chance of overturning Judge Walker’s decision.”

Reid, an assistant principal at West Orange-Stark Middle School, said considerations included an expected appeal to the Texas Supreme Court and legal fees that would exceed $50,000.

“That is an amount of money that I cannot justify spending given the higher priorities of my children’s education and my responsibilities as a father and husband,” he said.

Initially, Reid was certified by Walker to be on the ballot on May 17.

“What has been particularly disturbing to me is the strategy employed by my opponent to avoid an election by contesting irregularities in an application,” Reid said. “To some, it may be a shrewd campaign strategy. To me, it is seeking to win by default rather than giving voters reasons why you should be the next Justice of the Peace.”

The Precinct 2 spot has been occupied by Justice Bob Morgan for 14 years. Morgan served as interim when Johnny Knowles retired from the post two years.

“I want to assure the citizens of Port Arthur that nothing malicious was done during the process of having my petition signed,” Reid said. “There was no purposeful intent to deceive anyone, and each person who signed my petition knew that the reason was to have my name placed on the ballot as an independent candidate for Justice of the Peace, Precinct 2.”

The jurisdiction for Precinct 2 is within the corporate limits of Port Arthur.