James Cousar Mentioned in Austin Chronicle on Senate Special Election

“Candidates Step Gingerly Into Senate Special Election Fray”

Two weeks after Kirk Watson announced he would retire from his state Senate seat, no one has officially stepped forward to announce plans to run for the office – but several prospective Democratic front-runners have taken big steps in that direction.

One of those potential contenders, City Council Member Greg Casar, filed a treasurer appointment for his campaign-to-be: Aimee Arrambide, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas. Casar also circulated a legal memo penned by local election law expert James E. Cousar of Thomp­son & Knight LLP that addresses questions about Casar’s eligibility to run for the SD-14 seat.

…The memo also addresses a claim from former Travis County Judge Bill Aleshire – a self-appointed nemesis of both Casar and Garza – that Casar is ineligible to run for the Legislature as the holder of a “lucrative office” (i.e., a paid position) unless he resigns. Aleshire argues that a CM’s resignation does not become effective until a new person is elected to the office or the incumbent is elected to a different office, neither of which would happen before a May special election. Aleshire notes that in the most recent case testing this provision of the Texas Constitution, in which Eagle Pass Mayor Ramsey English Cantu resigned to run for the state Lege, a new mayor was elected on Feb. 1 and sworn in before Tusday’s primary. Cousar writes that Casar is “eligible to become a candidate for [SD-14] if and when” he resigns from Council and his “resignation becomes effective under the law.” However, Cousar crucially concludes, Casar’s appointing a treasurer and raising funds will not require him to resign now.