Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas
Original Proceeding from Collin County, Texas
Justices Schenck, Reichek, and Evans
SUPPLEMENTAL MEMORANDUM OPINION
December 9, 2019, we denied relator, Susanne Wooten's,
December 6, 2019 petition for writ of mandamus and emergency
motion for temporary relief in which Wooten sought an order
compelling respondent, Mark Reid, in his capacity as Collin
County Republican Party Chairman ("County Chair"),
to place her on the ballot for the Republican primary as a
candidate for the 401st Judicial District Court of Texas. We
did so in a summary opinion in deference to the short time
limits imposed on parties to pursue further relief in ballot
access litigation as we explained in In re Jones,
No. 05-28-0065-CV, 2018 WL 549531 (Tex. App.-Dallas Jan. 24,
2018, orig. proceeding) (per curiam) (memo. op.). We now
supplement our memorandum opinion of December 9, 2019, to
more fully explain why the Court was compelled to deny
Wooten's petition for writ of mandamus.
petition arises from an administrative body's declaration
that she is ineligible to be a candidate for the office of
District Judge. Accordingly, this mandamus proceeding is
similar to other proceedings where we are limited to a review
of the face of the record.
November 7, 2019, Wooten submitted her Application for a
place on the Republican Party General Primary Ballot for the
office of District Judge, 401st Judicial District Court of
Texas, located in Collin County, Texas. On November 25, 2019,
the Chair of the Collin County Republican Party delivered a
declaration to Wooten notifying her that she is ineligible
for a place on the primary ballot. This mandamus proceeding
followed on Friday, December 6, 2019.
County Chair's responsibilities regarding any
candidate's application for a place on the ballot is set
out in section 145.003 of the Texas Election Code.
See Tex. Elec. Code Ann. § 145.003. Subsection
(g) to section 145.003 provides that the County Chair must
review whatever public record is presented related to the
eligibility of a candidate and must declare a candidate
ineligible if the public record establishes ineligibility:
When presented with an application for a place on the ballot
or another public record containing information pertinent to
a candidate's eligibility, the appropriate authority
shall promptly review the record. If the authority determines
that the record establishes ineligibility as provided by
Subsection (f), the authority shall declare the candidate
Id. § 145.003(g). Subsection (f), provides the
standard the County Chair must use when evaluating a public
record is whether that record conclusively establishes
candidate may be declared ineligible only if:
(1) the information on the candidate's application for a
place on the ballot indicates that the candidate is
ineligible for the office; or
(2) facts indicating that the candidate is ineligible are
conclusively established by another public record.
Id. § 145.003(f).
addition to the general requirements for public office set
out in section 141.001 of the Election Code,  section seven of
article five of the Texas Constitution requires a candidate
for District Judge to (1) be a citizen of the United States,
(2) be a citizen of the State of Texas, (3) be licensed to
practice law in the State of Texas, (4) for the 4 years
immediately preceding the election, have been a practicing
lawyer or a Judge of a Court in Texas or a combination of the
two, and (5) have resided in the district for the 2 years
immediately preceding the election. See Tex. Const.
art. V, § 7. A District Judge in Texas must also be at
least 25 years of age. See Tex. Gov't Code Ann.
determining whether a candidate is ineligible, the County
Chair is not permitted to consider facts that are not
contained in the public record. See Witherspoon v.
Pouland, 784 S.W.2d 951, 954 (Tex. App.-Dallas 1990,
orig. proceeding). We likewise are constrained to the limited
mandamus record before us and are not permitted to expand the
record by embarking on a fact finding mission, nor are we to
engage in speculation as to whether facts outside the record
could exist that would impact Wooten's eligibility.
See e.g., Ferris v. Carlson, 314 S.W.2d 577 (Tex.
1958). To the extent there are any factual disputes as to a
candidate's eligibility, they must be resolved in
accordance with the comprehensive statutory regime governing
injunctive relief to prevent violations of the Election Code,
rather than in a mandamus proceeding. See Elec.
§§ 145.003(a), 273.081; In re Cullar, 320
S.W.3d 560, 564 (Tex. App.- Dallas 2000, ...