Agreement Reached to Keep Farenthold off GOP Primary Ballot

The Texas Republican Party and the Secretary of State's office reached an agreement today to keep the name of Blake Farenthold, the Corpus Christi Congressman who announced last week his plan not to seek re-election, off the Republican Party primary ballot, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Farenthold announced last week that he would not run for a third term, amid allegations that he used a top secret taxpayer provided 'slush fund' to pay off a former staffer who had sued him for sexual harassment.  Farenthold was also accused by a former employee that he had used insulting words to bully his staffers, and would ask sexual questions about the staffer's wife.

But Farenthold's announcement that he wouldn't seek another term came after the deadline to file for a place on the March primary ballot.  The Texas GOP sued to get a clarification on whether it came too late to keep a name off the ballot.

The party had claimed that forcing Farenthold to appear on the ballot under the Republican banner would violate the party's First Amendment rights of free association.

The Secretary of State's office had argued that there must be a cutoff point after which the primary ballot is fixed, so the party, the candidates, and the voters know what the ballot will look like and they can plan accordingly.

The agreement still has to be approved by a federal judge.  The Texas Democratic Party may also challenge the agreement, because should Farenthold win the March primary, it would put them in a good position to regain the seat in the November general election.

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