Committee for Howard/Neil Election Challenge Set
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)