Blogging City Hall and Harris County government with the Chronicle staff
October 31, 2008
Surreal state Senate race lands in court
Joan Huffman, Republican candidate for the state Senate seat left behind by Kyle Janek, got a court order this afternoon forcing the Best For Texas political action committee, the tight circle of folks trying to get Republican candidate Austen Furse elected to that seat, to stop ripping Huffman via Web sites that suggested they were Huffman's.
How, you ask, did former judge Huffman's enemies get ahold of www.joanhuffman.com and www.judgehuffman.com? The answer is detailed in this recent column by our Rick Casey. (We're not linking to those sites; who knows what kind of legal trouble that could lead to!).
Huffman lawyer Joe Larsen, who formerly helped the Chronicle obtain public records from balky government agencies, went to court today alleging that the use of the sites was akin to cyber-piracy and identity infringement -- and violated state election law to boot.
State District Judge Tony Lindsay granted the order and set a hearing, for the week after Tuesday's election, on where the case goes from here. For now, the Web sites must come down; the e-mails sent to voters from the sites must cease.
Readers of this blog may recall the stranger-than-truth story of this six-candidate race, which has enveloped all kinds of collateral characters. You can read about it in reverse chronology starting here.
Republican uber-consultant Allen Blakemore, who sits at the intersection of the Furse and Best For Texas operations, was preparing a statement to be issued later tonight.
UPDATE: The statement regurgitated some of the campaign allegations made against Huffman.
It also said:
Today, Joan Huffman, went to extraordinary means to keep the
voters from learning the truth about her record on the bench and her position on issues facing the good people of Senate District 17. She sought and was granted (the order) prohibiting Best for Texas
from using two web site domains that were lawfully obtained and properly display a political disclaimer.
Ms. Huffman's trial lawyers argued that Best for Texas should not be allowed to use her name alone as a web address to display advocacy for another candidate. The court agreed.
The campaign (against Huffman) will continue until the polls close on Tuesday. We will not relent.
But not through those Web sites, apparently.
Blakemore also said a lawyer for Huffman tried in vain to get TV stations to take some Furse ads off the air because they were allegedly false. Huffman confirmed that.
Huffman said she was glad about the judge's decision because the Web sites contained what she consider lies and distortions about her record.
Posted by Alan Bernstein at October 31, 2008 07:28 PM
Houston, Harris County - 15, Texas
Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character.
-- Margaret Chase Smith - former US Senator from Maine 1948-1973
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