A filing error in December may prevent Daniel Hare, a would-be independent candidate for McLennan County district attorney, from getting on the ballot in November.
Hare reported Wednesday that he discovered he mistakenly filed his intent to run for office with McLennan County Judge Scott Felton’s office instead of the Texas Secretary of State’s Office.
It is an error that could preclude Hare from opposing Republican nominee Barry Johnson for district attorney, leaving Johnson as the lone candidate in November.
Waco attorney Seth Sutton filed to run for DA as a Democrat, but since has suspended his candidacy.
“Throughout this campaign, three of the pillars we have consistently focused on are leadership, character and transparency,” Hare wrote in a statement. “And I have stated repeatedly that I will make mistakes in office, as will the people within our office. What’s important in these instances is that we admit the mistake, learn from it, and do everything possible to avoid making that same mistake again in the future. Owning and learning from mistakes starts with me, right here and right now.”
Hare, 40, director of employer relations and engagement at Baylor University Law School, has not practiced law, but has worked as a college athletics director and an NCAA compliance officer.
Hare said he has received conflicting information about where he should have filed for office as an independent. Until he gets a definitive answer, he will continue his campaign and his quest to secure the required 500 signatures on petitions from registered voters who did not vote in either the Democratic or Republican primaries, he said. His campaign has collected 415 signatures so far, he said.
“We hope for the best but know that things are in a little bit of flux right now,” Hare said. “It may be an uphill battle but we won’t know for sure until they receive my application and signatures and render a decision. Even if they reject it, there may be options for relief in the courts.”
Sam Taylor, spokesman for the Texas Secretary of State’s Office, told the Tribune-Herald that an independent or write-in candidate for district attorney would have had to submit a “declaration of intent” to the secretary’s office by Dec. 11 to to be eligible for the November ballot.
Such a candidate would still have to submit the petition of signatures by June 21, but without the “declaration of intent” submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office in December, he is not a certifiable candidate, Taylor said.
Barry Johnson, who beat two-term incumbent DA Abel Reyna by 20 percentage points in the March primary, said he is not familiar with the law about where independent candidates file for office.
“I am still out there running as hard as I can,” Johnson said, adding he had a successful fundraiser Tuesday night.