The contested race between incumbent 424th District Judge Dan Mills and his opponent, attorney Evan Stubbs has been heating up over the course of the last several months, with the two candidates exchanging accusations ranging from residency to improper campaign contributions.
Last week, the Mills Campaign mailed out letters to constituents alleging that there have been felony complaints filed against Stubbs for voter fraud, bank fraud, and falsifying governmental records, which he states have been filed with the offices of two District Attorneys, Texas Secretary of State, and the Texas Attorney General.
The allegations stem from earlier accusations that Stubbs had not resided in the 424th District for the requisite two years prior to the general election in order to be eligible to run.
Stubbs told supporters and media on Thursday, Feb. 13 that he did meet all residency requirements, having moved from his Lampasas home to a friend’s home in Burnet County prior to the Nov. 2012 cutoff. Stubbs maintains that he lived with the family friend until his new home, which was built in Burnet County, was finished.
In a response to the question of eligible residency, the Republican Chair for the State of Texas, Steve Munisteri said, “There are many factors to consider, but in summary, the courts have held it is where you intend for your permanent residence to be, not necessarily where you are at the moment.”
Evan Stubbs refuted all claims made by Mills in his letter and countered, raising questions about campaign contributions made to the Friends of Dan Mills Campaign.
Stubbs pointed to two cases from Blanco County heard by Judge Mills; in the two examples, lawyers involved in the hearings contributed to the Friends of Dan Mills Campaign while their cases were pending in his courtroom.
One, Corley vs. The Real Lighthouse, LP, was filed in 2007 over an easement dispute. The attorney for The Real Lighthouse made a contribution to Mills’ campaign on Oct. 19, 2010, and on November 1, 2010, the docket sheet has an entry that says “Motion for Summary Judgment, Granted Defendant Motion for JJ.”
Stubbs said, “I can’t prove that he solicited bribes, but I can be sure that he took money.” Stubbs said that he didn’t know if it was illegal to do so in cases like this, but he said it was wrong.
In the second case, Stubbs pointed to a deeds restriction case in Blanco County involving an attorney who was also a potential witness on the case. Judge Mills heard that case on Dec. 3 and 4 of 2013. The attorney contributed the maximum amount allowed, $1,000, to the Friends of Dan Mills Campaign on the last day of the hearing, Dec. 4, according to records with the Texas Ethics Commission. The case was taken under advisement, and no ruling has yet been made.
Early voting began on Tuesday, Feb. 18 and will run until Feb. 28. The Primary Election will be held on March 4.