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Texas State Rep Wins Uncontested Election From His Jail Cell

Barring an early release, Rep. Ron Reynolds will miss the entire 2019 legislative session.

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Ron Reynolds (D–Missouri City) has won re-election to the Texas House of Representatives , with a commanding 100 percent of the vote in an uncontested race for a seat representing District 27 in the Houston suburbs.

Despite that wide margin of victory, Reynolds can't exactly crack open the Champagne, as he is currently serving time in Montgomery County jail.

Back in 2015, Reynolds, a former personal injury attorney, was convicted of five misdemeanor charges for his role in a scheme where he and seven other attorneys paid a local chiropractor to sign up patients injured in traffic accidents as clients.

Reynolds filed several appeals of his conviction, all of which were denied.

Since being found guilty, he has managed to win a number of primaries in his heavily Democratic district. In 2016 he won a four-way primary with 48 percent of the vote. In 2018 he managed to get 60 percent in a two-way contest with attorney Wilvin Carver.

"The unfortunate thing about Reynolds is that he is has a strong record for supporting environmental protection and gay rights, but with the possible jail sentence hanging over his head it's hard to support him," wrote the Houston Chronicle editorial board, which threw its support behind Carver.

Because Reynolds was convicted of misdemeanors rather than a felony, he was not forced to resign. He is now serving a year-long sentence, and should be released by September 2019. Unless he is released from jail early, he will miss the entire 2019 legislative session.

Reynolds' inability to introduce or vote on legislation just might dampen his effectiveness as a legislator. It surely isn't an ideal arrangement for any constituents who expect him to represent their interests in the state House.

This does not seem to bother Democratic politicos, who seem to be in no rush to disavow Reynolds.

A July election flier shared by Fort Bend County Democratic Party Chairwoman Cynthia Ginyard features Reynolds alongside other county candidates. Reynolds' Twitter feed shows him at a September Houston-area African American Faith Leaders Breakfast that was also attended by failed U.S. Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke.

This speaks to a chronic lack of competition. In 2018, nearly a third of Texas' state representatives faced no opponent in the general election. That's not good for state-level democracy, which is supposed to entail, if not good options, at least an option when voters go to the polls.

Photo Credit: Twitter

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  • Michael Ejercito||

    Who were his primary opponents?

  • Eddy||

    People who probably won't put "lost to a guy in prison" on their resumes.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Technically, nobody lost to him. He was an uncontested candidate.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The primary was, however, contested. No Republican apparently wanted to add his or her name to the list of people who couldn't beat a guy in prison.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    You win.

  • John||

    State legislator is a pretty crappy job. Most of them don't pay enough to even cover the expenses of showing up for the session. On top of that, the sessions, while not as long as Congres, last for months and make it impossible for anyone with a real job to serve. I don't know how they get anyone to be a state legislator.

  • Eddy||

    We don't *know,* but I suppose there is room for speculation...

  • Gray_Jay||

    140 days, once every two years. Texas is weird when it comes to that.

    The pay is shit though. 7200 bucks comes to mind for the session. There are...other attractions for the job.

    One peculiar thing that may still be true: a trial cannot proceed if one of the attorneys is a Texas state legislator. Accordingly, "rent a lege" was a thing, especially for the defense bar. Nothing like a mandatory 140 day continuance to tap out the plaintiff's litigation and living expenses loan.

    Reynolds getting elected from jail is novel, but not entirely unusual for urban Texas legislators. Senator Miles, who still reps Senate District 13 (a mostly Houston district), has several colorful stories, covered in this Daily Beast article: Link

  • Gray_Jay||

    Quotes from the Daily Beast article (did they realize he's a Democrat pol?): Quotes:
    "...April 2008 when he was indicted on two counts of deadly conduct involving a night when he was accused of pulling a gun on a Texas Southern University regent and his wife in a lounge during a Rockets game.

    During the trial, the couple said that Miles waved the gun around, pointed it at a woman, and put it to his own head.

    "He said it could blow your brains out," a woman named Kym Jackson testified, according to the Houston Chronicle.

    In the other episode, Miles allegedly crashed a party at the St. Regis Hotel, forcibly kissed a woman, and planted a Godfather-style "kiss of death" on the cheeks of a local businessman while brandishing his weapon. The man hosting the party pressed charges after Miles allegedly said, "You don't know what I'm capable of doing."

    "Miles was acquitted on both counts at a January 2009 trial."

  • Michael Palin's Buttplug||

    Good thing he's getting free room and board, then.

  • Eddy||

    Will this result in electoral reforms?

    NOTA chance.

  • John||

    I think legilstors serving from prison is a great idea. What harm can they do sitting in jail?

  • Eddy||

    Well, that should be up to the voters, at least for misdemeanors.

    On the off chance they don't like the incarcerated guy (or any existing candidate), the "NOTA" option should be available.

    Which I don't think the powers that be will allow, since it will be embarrassing to find out how many candidates get beaten by NOTA.

  • ||

    it will be embarrassing to find out how many candidates get beaten by NOTA.

    Given usual turnout levels, NOTA already wins resoundingly every time.

  • My Dog Bites Better Than Yours||

    Texas throws then jail as soon as they're elected. Brilliant Idea!

  • esteve7||

    Or in California, when there are two leftists for me to vote on as senators, but I can't even write-in anyone else

  • ||

    You had your opportunity during the Primary, peasant.

  • Bubba Jones||

    the republican came in third. I think it's safe to say he wasn't going to win the general.

    Honestly, I think the jungle primary is good idea for California. It gives the "moderate" Democrat a chance to court voters in the general election.

  • ||

    It may turn out for the best once everyone readjusts to the realization that the actual election takes place in June, and that what happens in November is just a run-off.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Democratic party.

  • Eddy||

    Alt-text: Here's a picture of the crook, and standing next to him is Ron Reynolds.

  • Fancylad||

    Looks like nobody told poor Britschgi that modern journalism is all about deciding which facts the public shouldn't know, because they might reflect badly on Democrats.
    No cocktail party invites or job offers from the NYT for you Britschgi.

  • Gray_Jay||

    Whatever happened to that Representative, from Louisiana, IIRC, who got caught by the FBI with a 100k in currency in his freezer?

    Of course, there was Alcee Hastings, who, after getting impeached from his job as a Federal Judge for accepting bribes, turned around and got elected to Congress. Where he's remained since 1993, if wiki's right.

    Certain plebiscites don't care if their representatives are crooks.

  • Robert||

    I laughed at the lawn signs here in NW NJ, "ELECT CROOK". Hir name, apparently.

    Remember in La., "Vote for the crook, not the kook."?

  • Bubba Jones||

    "Since being found guilty, he has managed to win a number of primaries in his heavily Democratic district. In 2016 he won a four-way primary with 48 percent of the vote. In 2018 he managed to get 60 percent in a two-way contest with attorney Wilvin Carver."

    I don't think this can be blamed on a lack of competition.

  • Kivlor||

    What does this have to do with Texas? Did the writer miss the part that this is Houston Missouri

  • Gray_Jay||

    Kivlor, Missouri City (AKA "Mo City") is a suburb of Houston, Texas.

  • Curly4||

    Now this new Texas Rep. Ron Reynolds (D–Missouri City) will have the opportunity to practice his skills in a more lucrative field.

  • grb||

    Meanwhile, Duncan Hunter is indicted for using a quarter-million dollars worth of campaign funds for illegal personal expenses, including listing his golf ball purchases as donations to a mythic "Wounded Warrior" charity, his dental bills to an equally unreal "Smiles for Life" organization, his tickets to Sea World as an "educational tour", and expending gobs of campaign cash on his five (count' em) mistresses. I've been told even one mistress is expensive, so there is that.
    .

    Ever the gentleman, Hunter blamed his wife and his son for the fraud and then ran for reelection as champion of stalwart Christian family values. This wasn't to the state legislature, mind you, but the House of Representatives in the United States Congress.
    .
    The point? As charming as the stories are, you can find them at all times in both parties. The standard was supposedly per the famous quote from Louisiana's Edwin Edwards, who said "The only way I can lose this election is if I'm caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy". Given today's hyper-partisanism, I'm not sure even that would do it in many election venues....

  • Gray_Jay||

    Add Steve Stockman as another Republican legislator who found campaign charity money too seductive to ignore. Then there was Randy "Duke" Cunningham.

    The difference is that the Republicans usually don't re-elect their fallen after they've been convicted. AIUI, Hunter was indicted, but not convicted. Yet.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Um... there are three parties on the logistics substitution curve now.

  • grb||

    Three parties, four parties, twenty parties. But it's a fact only two of them have loyal adherents enough to put a cretin in office because he's their guy.

    I'll illustrate with an example : Consider a reality TV star buffoon. A person ignorant, obnoxious, and clownish all at once. A person who lies so often it must be a psychotic compulsion. A person with no accomplishment to his name except petty hucksterism and investing Daddy's money to mediocre results. You could run that person for public office under the rubric of any party, but he could only become president as a Republican.

    Of course he could probably be elected to the California State Legislature as a Democrat; I'll grant that......

  • creech||

    "In 2018, nearly a third of Texas' state representatives faced no opponent in the general election. That's not good for state-level democracy, which is supposed to entail, if not good options, at least an option when voters go to the polls."

    How much are you willing to contribute to a campaign with zero chance of winning? At least an LP campaign is premised on "spreading the word." What's the worth of your standard GOP or Dem campaign that has no hope?

  • Hank Phillips||

    LP campaigns change the laws. Looters cannot solve a 3-body problem and have to improve their platforms and laws to survive Libertarian spoiler votes. From the 1870s till 1971 it was the opposite. The Kleptocracy had to worsen its platforms and laws to survive socialist and prohibition party spoiler votes. You've come a long way, baby!

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Unless he is released from jail early, he will miss the entire 2019 legislative session.

    So he can't pass any laws raising taxes or infringing on civil rights? Hey! A libertarian got elected!!!

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Texas Rep. Ron Reynolds (D–Missouri City) has won reelection to the Texas House of Representatives , with a commanding 100 percent of the vote in an uncontested race for a seat representing District 27 in the Houston suburbs.

    At least he's starting from where he belongs.

  • Eddy||

    The true prison is the prison of our desires and passions

    /Probably Epictetus or one of that crowd

  • patskelley||

    ya it's funny but where were the opposing party candidates to challenge this ambulance chaser?

  • Eddy||

    In Texas, ambulance chased *him.*

  • Hank Phillips||

    Election itself meant "choice" in Patrick Henry's day. "We have no election" meant exactly "we have no choice." Where was the LP with these seats to pick up without even turncoat Trojan horse false flag Republicans "converting" to our side?

  • Rock Lobster||

    Democrat. It figures.

  • Eddy||

    Wait, did anyone remember to make the joke about "the courage of his convictions"?

  • Rock Lobster||

    An appeal for innocent laughter?

  • Harvard||

    Guy's a piker. The gold standard remains Marion Berry, videotaped in a sting operation being bribed while huffing on a crack pipe and winning in a landslide. True to his avid supporters, government by the people. I'm sorry, was that racist?

  • Oli||

    Why not jail all elected politicians for the duration of their terms? So they can keep sucking each other dicks, but won't be able to do harm.

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