Texas Senate Candidate Backed by State GOP Leaders Allowed to Continue Campaigning Amid Eligibility Questions

Austin, Texas – A Texas Senate candidate backed by state GOP leaders has received mixed news regarding his eligibility to campaign. A judge has allowed Brent Hagenbuch to continue his campaign, but has also refused to dismiss a case questioning his residency, allowing it to proceed before the March primary. Hagenbuch, who has the support of Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, has been facing allegations that he did not meet the residency requirement when filing for the office.

The ruling came from Judge Lee Gabriel in a lawsuit filed by Hagenbuch’s opponent, Carrie de Moor, in Denton County district court. De Moor’s lawyers had sought a temporary injunction to prevent Hagenbuch from campaigning, but the judge denied their motion. At the same time, Gabriel denied Hagenbuch’s motion to dismiss the case under Texas’ anti-SLAPP lawsuit.

Hagenbuch’s campaign celebrated the ruling, declaring it a victory against opponents who attempted to win the election through legal means. However, de Moor’s campaign emphasized that the case will proceed, allowing for depositions, subpoenas, and a trial.

Under the Texas Constitution, candidates like Hagenbuch must reside in the district they are running to represent for at least a year before the November election. Hagenbuch listed his residence as an office building inside the district when he filed for Senate District 30. However, his opponents argue that he had been living in a neighboring district.

Hagenbuch claimed in court that he had been subleasing a corporate apartment inside the office building for a nominal fee. His opponents have faced challenges in their attempts to remove him from the ballot, especially considering the proximity to the primary deadline.

It is unlikely that a trial will take place before the March 5 primary, as Hagenbuch is expected to fight efforts to proceed. If he becomes the GOP nominee and is later deemed ineligible, a replacement candidate would be elected by the GOP executive committee.