Thursday, November 30, 2006

Fighting on in LA-04

While some Lafayette Democrats seek out ways to rollover to local Republicans, a Shreveport Democrat is waging a spirited, if lonely, fight to overturn the recent re-election of Republican Jim McCrery to the congressional seat from Louisiana's Fourth District.

Patti Cox was one of two Democrats who challenged McCrery in the November 7 election. Artis Cash was the other. Mr. Cash got the endorsement of the state party when Ms. Cash didn't attend the state party endorsement convention shortly before the election.

McCrery was re-elected with about 57 percent of the vote. Cash took about 17 percent of the vote; Cox 13. A second Republican took the rest of the vote.

Cox has filed suit in state court in Shreveport seeking to have McCrery disqualified based on the fact that he does not live in Louisiana and provided false information to the Louisiana Secretary of State when he (or members of his staff) filed qualifying papers. She is also seeking to have the next two top vote getters (she and Mr. Cash) inserted into the December 9 runoff election.

McCrery responded by seeking a transfer of the case to federal court. Patti believes this is an attempt to stall on the case until it is too late to get the remedy she seeks: a run-off with McCrery not on the ballot.

The case has been transferred to federal court but Patti is also seeking to have the case returned to state court.

After the election, when it became clear that Democrats had won control of the U.S. House of Representatives, there was speculation in media in Shreveport that McCrery might not take his seat in the House. He was in line to become chairman of the Ways & Means Committee had Republicans retained their majority status in the House. McCrery has been rumored to have been offered several lucrative lobbying positions (at least one being with a firm where former Democratic Senator John Breaux works).

The nub of Cox's suit is that McCrery does not have a residence in Louisiana and, so, cannot be elected to Congress from Louisiana.

Here is the case made against McCrery in the original state court filing which Patti provided me after I called her about the case.

1. Defendant, who sold his residence at 10815 Longfellow Trace, Shreveport, LA 71106, located in Southern Trace Subdivision of Shreveport, LA, on June 3, 2004, was not an inhabitant of Louisiana (Exhibit A), when elected for Congress for Louisiana's 4th Congressional District on November 7, 2006, as required by R.S. 18:1275 B and U.S.C.A. Const. Art 1ß2. Cl.2 (Exhibit B). Defendant admitted to not living in the area the night of the election on TV. The guard at the entrance of Southern Trace said Defendant has not lived in Southern Trace for a year and a half.

2. Defendant deceptively listed P.O. Box 52956, Shreveport, LA 71135, and 10855 Longfellow Trace, Shreveport, LA 71106 (Exhibit C), as his residence when filing to run for Congress on August 9, 2006, with the Louisiana Secretary of State on a sworn statement before a notary. The 10855 Longfellow Trace information was given by the Secretary of State's Office, 8549 United Plaza Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70804 (225-922- 0900), and the Registrar of Voters Office, 525 Marshall Street, Shreveport, LA (318-226- 6891).

3. Qualifications of Members of Congress make being an inhabitant of that state in which he shall be chosen a condition at the time of the election. Qualifications are defined and fixed in the U.S. Constitution and are unalterable by the legislature. Exclusion can only be exercised when a Member-elect fails to meet a qualification expressly prescribed in the Constitution.
As is par for the course, Patti has undertaken this case on her own, with no help from the party on any level, thus far. In a phone conversation on Tuesday, Patti indicated that there has been some attempted contact from the Democratic National Committee, but nothing has materialized thus far.

Patti Cox's campaign website declared her to be a candidate for the seat in Louisiana's "Fighting Fourth." She's helping Democrats in the district live up to that title. How refreshing that is!

1 comment:

Nick said...

I believe there was another (and much better) Republican candidate running in that district.

Why can't he be allowed on the ballot if McCrery is ruled illegal? Seems to me Democrats, especially the ones who always complain about voter fraud and Diebold, would want a fair election.

Let's do it over and give ALL of the legal candidates another shot, not just two Democrats.