Candidate might need court ruling
By John W. Gonzalez
December 18, 2014
Senate District 26 candidate Sylvia Romo on Thursday conceded that she doesn’t live in that district and may have to legally challenge state law requiring senators to reside in their jurisdictions for at least a year before election.
The Democrat, who filed for office Wednesday, said she lives just outside District 26 but is determined to seek the office in the Jan. 6 special election even if her eligibility is in dispute.
Romo is vying with several candidates to replace state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, who’s giving up the seat to run for mayor next year.
A former Texas House member and longtime Bexar County tax assessor-collector, Romo said she’s hopeful that she’ll be deemed qualified, citing what she contends is an ambiguity in state law governing qualifications to serve in the Senate. She said the law refers to general elections, not special elections.
Asked if her Northwest Side home is in District 26, Romo said “it’s a matter of interpretation. … I did the research, and it’s very vague on special elections.”
Romo said she checked with a state legal authority who said the law’s application to special elections hadn’t been challenged.
“We can always set precedent,” Romo said, but it could require a district court ruling.
“I’m at the courthouse right now,” she said Thursday afternoon.
Romo added: “I’m not on the ballot yet. Check with me Monday,” which is the filing deadline.
“Why should I be excluded from running because I happen to be” 800 yards outside the district, she asked. Her sworn application for the ballot states that she’s lived in the district continuously for 20 years.
Romo acknowledged her admission would be fodder for opponents.
“You know politics. If they can find something, they’re going to use it,” she said.
Even so, “the outpouring of support I’ve gotten has been surprisingly very, very strong.” Romo said.
“If I wanted to play the (political) game, I could have used another address, but I felt requirements in the special (election) were not the same as in a general,” she said.
“It’s just a technicality,” she said. And if it can be overcome and she wins the election, “it won’t take me that long to move. I would have to wait until the general election, but I think as a matter of principle, I would” move, Romo added.
According to the Bexar County Elections Department, Romo’s address is in District 25, which is represented by state Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels.