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Kerrville candidate files lawsuit to block May election

Robin Monroe argues Kerrville is violating its charter by holding election in May.

Kerrville City Council candidate Robin Monroe, challenging incumbent Brenda Hughes, is seeking an injunction to move the 2022 election to November.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday morning in the 216th District Court, Monroe claimed the May 7 municipal election was illegal under the city's charter. Monroe said she requires knee replacement surgery in April, making campaigning for Place 4 difficult.

"Plaintiff asks the Court to order the Defendant to cancel the May,

2022 election, as Plaintiff has a knee replacement surgery coming up in early April which certainly will impact her ability to campaign for a May election as opposed to one properly held in November according to the Charter," the lawsuit reads. "Plaintiff seeks to enforce existing law as provided by Sections 2.03 of the Kerrville City Charter, Further, the proposed election date prejudices her ability to campaign for office which would have been provided had the election been called for a later date as provided by the City Charter."

Austin attorney Roger Borgelt represents Monroe.

However, the argument may be one of the first in Texas to be litigated in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic when Gov. Greg Abbott postponed municipal elections to the general election in 2020. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has ruled that the move was a one-time event, issued under the governor's emergency powers. The Texas Secretary of State's office made similar pronouncements. Most Texas municipalities hold elections in May.

Monroe's suit, of course, doesn't consider Abbott's decision to postpone the elections. Instead, Borgelt argues solely for injunctive relief based on the city charter, which outlines the terms of office for the City Council and Mayor.

In her filing, Monroe asks for the city to cover the litigation costs, including appeals to the Texas Supreme Court.

"Request is made for all costs and reasonable and necessary attorney's -fees incurred by Plaintiff herein, including all fees necessary in the event of an appeal of this cause to the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Texas, as the Court deems equitable and just," the filing said.

This argument has been contentious for the City Council — led by Place 1 City Councilman Roman Garcia and former Councilman George Baroody. During a Feb. 8 meeting, Katy Chapman-Hanna, a candidate for Place 3, said it was important for the City Council to uphold the charter regarding the election. Baroody followed her with a similar argument.

What wasn't said was reconciling the length of service for Mayor Bill Blackburn, who is not seeking re-election, and Place 3 City Councilwoman Judy Eychner, now running for Mayor. Postponing the election would add six months to the terms of office. Since the charter doesn't clearly define two years, interpreting that issue may be difficult.

Monroe isn't the only candidate suing the city. Mayoral candidate Brent Bates filed a federal lawsuit against the city over his stalled Water Street office building.


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