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Click here for the full text of this decision A limited and temporary interest does not give rise to individual standing in a post-election case involving a matter of public concern such as the eligibility of the winning candidate. FACTS:Erleigh Norville defeated incumbent Joe M. Parnell in the Nov. 5, 2002 general election for Kaufman County court at law judge. Parnell then sought and obtained a judgment declaring Norville ineligible for office, arguing she did not meet the seven-month “continuous residence” requirement. Finding that Norville did not meet the residency requirement, the trial court enjoined the county judge and commissioners from certifying her as the winner and from issuing her a certificate of election. Norville appeals. She argues Parnell, as the defeated incumbent, does not have individual standing to challenge Norville’s eligibility. HOLDING:Vacated and dismissed. “[W]hether a candidate who received the majority of the vote in a general election is eligible to be certified as winner of the election is exclusively a matter of public concern and any post-election suit challenging the winning candidate’s eligibility must be prosecuted by the State in a writ of quo warrantor. Consequently, Parnell does not have standing to bring this suit.” The court notes the dearth of case law regarding a defeated incumbent challenging his opponent’s eligibility post-election. The court looks at two somewhat similar cases, Allen v. Fisher, 9 S.W.2d 731 (1928), and Sadler v. Newton, 541 S.W.2d 194 (Tex.Civ.App. – Austin 1976, no writ), both of which involved losing candidates seeking to enjoin officials from certifying the winners of the primary election as party nominees. Both cases required the challenges to be made by the state since they involved matters of public concern. Parnell does not assert any interest distinct from the public. And Parnell’s assertion that he will remain in office until a successor is found if Norville is disqualified is not supported; that is, he will not be declared the winner in the event Norville is disqualified. The court concludes that the limited and temporary interest Parnell has in staying in office per a constitutional mandate to have such public offices filled, “is not the type that gives rise to individual standing in a post-election case involving a matter of public concern such as the eligibility of the winning candidate.” OPINION:Thomas, C.J.

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