CONROE, TX – The temporary restraining order requested by James Noack against the Montgomery County Democratic Party to remove his Democratic opponent for Precinct 3 Commissioner, Lore Breitmeyer Jones, off the Primary election ballot was denied by visiting Senior District Judge John Delaney Friday morning in the 284th District Court.
Initially, Judge Delaney denied the appeal by Marc Meyer to change the venue to the 9th Court of Appeals. Delaney ruled the Court of Appeals had permissive jurisdiction, but not exclusionary jurisdiction over election code cases. Therefore, the case remains in the 284th District Court.
Mike Stafford, attorney for James Noack, argued “imminent and irreparable harm” would befall Noack if Jones was allowed to remain on the ballot. Stafford claimed Jones would be able to “sway voters away from Noack and to her camp” the longer she was recognized as a candidate for the position.
“Every day that goes by that Mr. Noack has to campaign and spend time, effort, and resources, to compete for votes against Mrs. Jones cannot be recovered,” argued Stafford. “It’s been ten days now.”
Claire Lindsay, representation for the Montgomery County Democratic Party, argued filing is not the same as processing the application. Lindsay explained that Jones indeed turned in and filed her application with the filing fee before the 6:00 p.m. deadline on December 9, 2019, but the processing of the application is up to the Chairman to complete within five days of the filing deadline, which the Chairman did timely execute his duties.
“If these two candidates had filed for office in the same Primary, it might have done something different in the case, but here they haven’t” said Judge Delaney. “It seems to me there is ample time to flush this out before any injury could occur to the Plaintiff, and therefore the application for a temporary restraining order is denied.”
Noack sat in the back corner of the courtroom with Chief of Staff Evan Besong, Campaign Spokesman Allen Blakemore, District Attorney Brett Ligon, and County Attorney B.D. Griffin.
Noack made no comment to the media. When he arrived, both Noack and Besong were escorted into a private area by a bailiff. After the hearing, Noack, Besong, Stafford, and Blakemore remained in a private room for roughly an hour. Stafford addressed the media as Noack and Besong skirted past without answering any questions.
According to Mike Stafford, they intend to “go through” the transcripts of today’s hearing “with a fine-tooth comb.”
Approximately 30 minutes later, Blakemore appeared with a prepared written statement which he provided to the Montgomery County Gazette before leaving the courthouse himself.
Blakemore stated, “Wary that his comments were in open court and on the record, Chairman Meyer never once contradicted our claim that Jones’ filing was not properly made before 6:00 p.m.” Blakemore continued, “Judge Delaney’s finding today hinged on the nature of the imminent harm being suffered by Noack. In denying the temporary restraining order, he indicated there was sufficient time to hold a fact hearing and provide Noack the relief he seeks in the form of a temporary and permanent injunction.”
“We are pleased with the outcome of today and look forward to letting out the facts, presenting witnesses, when we return to court on January 14th,” concluded Blakemore.
Marc Meyer, Chairman of the Montgomery County Democratic Party, released his own press release stating, “Marc Meyer and the Montgomery County Democratic Party have maintained that Ms. Breitmeyer Jones filed her application before the 6:00 pm deadline. The arguments and “evidence” that Commissioner Noack, political consultant Allen Blakemore, Noack Chief of Staff Evan Besong, and Noack attorney Mike Stafford brought did nothing to contradict that basic fact. Mr. Meyer and the Montgomery County Democratic Party will continue to fight these scurrilous charges and keep Lore Breitmeyer Jones on the Democratic primary ballot for the March 3, 2020 primary election.”
An evidentiary hearing is scheduled for January 14, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. in the 284th District Court with Visiting District Judge Delaney. The evidentiary hearing will allow both sides to present evidence and question witnesses.