Elections

Alexandra Mealer, Harris County Judge candidate, among Republicans contesting election results

Mealer says she decided to file the contest after reviewing the post-election assessment submitted by Harris County’s Election Administrator Clifford Tatum. 

Alexandra del Moral Mealer's website
Alexandra del Moral Mealer is challenging Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s victory two months after she conceded.

The Republican candidate for Harris County judge in last November’s election is challenging Democratic incumbent Lina Hidalgo’s victory, two months after she conceded.

Alexandra del Moral Mealer is one of at least 12 losing Republican candidates on the Harris County ballot to contest the results of the election, according to Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee. Mealer lost by about 16,000 votes and had not previously indicated she planned to challenge the results.

In a statement released on Twitter Thursday night, Mealer says she decided to file the contest after reviewing the post-election assessment submitted by Harris County Elections Administrator Clifford Tatum.

“It is inexcusable that after two months, the public is no further along in knowing if and to what extent, votes were suppressed,” Mealer says.

“The report culminates with the ultimate ‘dog ate my homework excuse’ of the World Series parade being responsible for delayed openings and fails to solidify the number of polling stations that suffered from ballot paper shortages.”

Mealer is seeking one of two outcomes: being declared the winner or a new election altogether.

Harris County had been heavily criticized over how it handled the midterm election, after voters experienced several instances of voting machine failures and staffing shortages. Harris County’s Republican Party also filed a lawsuit, following the November election, in response to those failures.

Friday is the deadline for the candidates to file contests to the midterm elections. The following 12 Republicans who had done so as of late Friday morning, according to a list released by Menefee:

  • Bruce Bain, candidate for 269th District Court (lost to Judge Cory Sepolio)
  • Elizabeth Buss, candidate for Harris County Criminal Court at Law No. 5 (lost to Judge David Fleischer)
  • Chris Daniel, candidate for Harris County District Clerk (lost to incumbent Marilyn Burgess)
  • Matthew Dexter, candidate for Harris County Criminal Court at Law No. 12 (lost to Judge Genesis Draper)
  • Michelle Fraga, candidate for 281st District Court (lost to Judge Christine Weems)
  • Mark Goldberg, candidate for Harris County Criminal Court at Law No. 8 (lost to Judge Erika Ramirez)
  • Erin Lunceford, candidate for 189th District Court (lost to Judge Tamika Craft)
  • Mike May, candidate for State Representative in District 135 (lost to Rep. Jon Rosenthal)
  • Alexandra Mealer, candidate for Harris County Judge (lost to incumbent Lina Hidalgo)
  • Mark Montgomery, candidate for Harris County Criminal Court at Law No. 6 (lost to Judge Kelley Andrews)
  • Tami Pierce, candidate for 180th District Court (lost to Judge DaSean Jones)
  • Brian Staley, candidate for Harris County Civil County Court at Law No. 4. (lost to Judge Manpreet Monica Singh)

Menefee said he expected more candidates to file challenges by the end of the day, adding the challenges put millions of votes cast in Harris County at risk of being voided, and the county could possibly have to hold another election for the races being challenged.

“This is a shameful attempt by a group of losing candidates who couldn't win the hearts and minds of Harris County voters and are now throwing nonsensical legal theories at the wall to see what sticks,” Menefee said. “Each of them should be deeply embarrassed and these claims should not be taken seriously by the public. These losing candidates are finally laying bare what we all know to be true – for them, it's not about improving elections or making sure our elections are secure, it's about playing games with our democratic systems and refusing to accept the will of the voters.”

Houston-area State Sen. Paul Bettencourt agreed with Mealer’s decision to contest the race.

“Public confidence in Harris County’s election system was damaged by the fact that the Harris County EAO Warehouse had a million sheets of ballot paper on hand, yet thousands of voters were turned away from dozens of polls because they ran out of paper,” Bettencourt said in a statement. “It’s preposterous that Elections Administrator Tatum’s office spent half of Election Day denying that fact instead of immediately resupplying president judges with the needed ballots.”

Voting sites throughout the county experienced paper ballot shortages, as confirmed by Houston Public Media.

Chris Valdez, communications director with Houston in Action, said that a big focus of his organization on Election Day was monitoring precincts in historically excluded communities.

“Communities where we know historically excluded folks live. And definitely, on Election Day, we saw issues of paper ballots running out at polls,” Valdez said. “One that just jumps out at me is that...Judson Robinson (Jr.) Community Center had run out of paper in the middle of the day, which to me is really peculiar.”

Andrew Schneider and Adam Zuvanich contributed to this report.

Today in Houston Newsletter Signup
We're in the process of transitioning services for our Today in Houston newsletter. If you'd like to sign up now, fill out the form below and we will add you as soon as we finish the transition. **Please note** If you are already signed up for the newsletter, you do not need to sign up again. Your subscription will be migrated over.