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Committee for Howard/Neil Election Challenge Set

Howard - Neil election challenge set to start
picture courtesy of The Texas Tribune
Howard - Neil election challenge set to start

The referees have been named for the election battle between State Representative Donna Howard (D-Austin) and her Republican challenger Dan Neil.  Texas House Speaker Joe Straus sent out an e-mail today with a list of the 9 lawmakers on the House Select Committee on Election Contest.  The committee members will investigate the claims made in the race which Howard won by just 16 votes on Election Day.  Here's the list.  (FYI...the speaker's office added the official titles):


            The Honorable Todd Hunter, Chair

            The Honorable Craig Eiland, Vice Chair

            The Honorable Dennis Bonnen

            The Honorable Helen Giddings

            The Honorable Ryan Guillen

            The Honorable Lois Kolkhorst

            The Honorable Tryon Lewis

            The Honorable Jerry Madden

            The Honorable Wayne Smith

The official explanation given in Speaker Straus's e-mail of what the committee will do sounds very, well, official. 

The committee shall conduct its investigation of the issues raised by the contest in accordance with Chapters 221 and 241, Election Code, and report to the House of Representatives in accordance with that law.  For purposes of the contest, proceedings before the committee shall be considered proceedings before a tribunal under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct and those rules shall govern the conduct of parties and their counsel before the committee. 

State Representative Will Hartnet (R-Dallas) has the coolest title in this whole investigation:  Special Master!  He'll essentially sit as judge during the hearings.  It's the same job he held in 2005 when former representative Talmadge Heflin challeged, then lost his bid to overturn a narrow defeat to current Representative Hubert Vo (D-Houston)

Ben Philpott is the Managing Editor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @BenPhilpottKUT.