U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson was granted a restraining order against congressional candidate Debbie Walker after the latter’s campaign used election signs with photos of Johnson.
Johnson’s temporary restraining order (TRO) issued against Walker prohibits her from “generating or disseminating” any advertisements that use the incumbent’s name or likeness. However, the order allows existing advertisements to remain up.
The TRO will remain in effect until November 18. If Walker violates the order, she could face contempt of court and additional fines.
The advertisement in question is a sign used by Walker’s campaign that features a picture of Walker with Johnson and the caption, “We know she didn’t but she should have.”
Before Johnson filed the restraining order, Walker’s campaign voluntarily added stickers to these signs which read, “Not endorsed by Eddie Bernice Johnson.”
Johnson represents Texas’ 30th Congressional District and will retire in January. Walker is running a write-in campaign for the seat against Democrat nominee Jasmine Crockett.
Crockett issued a statement in which she referred to Walker’s advertisements as “harassment and disinformation.”
Walker responded to the restraining order and shared her side of the story with The Dallas Express.
“It is time out for partisan politics. The Democratic Party is dug in far left. The Republican Party is dug in far right,” she said. “I think most of us today are truly in the middle. We may pick a party. We lean a little bit to the left or to the right depending on issues.”
She continued, “Those statements that were made by Jasmine Crockett were libelous, slanderous, and those were backroom politics done at the 12th hour because of an insecure campaign and an insecure attorney.”
“More than likely, she’ll win, and she’d better do a good job because we’re watching,” Walker said. “Trust me, in 2024, there are going to be so many people that are going to step up because you [Crockett] failed. 90% of your laws that you tried to get passed in the state Senate did not [get passed].”
Walker told The Dallas Express she believes the restraining order filed against her is a sign that she is perceived as a “threat” to the Democratic status quo.
She claimed that she has also been on the receiving end of harassment, including numerous texts from an individual claiming to be Eddie Bernice Johnson saying, “Take my picture off of your material or be charged.”
Walker also noted that WFAA’s coverage of the restraining order included quotes from Crockett but none from Johnson. Walker claimed this is evidence that the order is part of an attack against her from Crockett herself rather than from Johnson.
A copy of the TRO, issued by Judge Ashley Wysocki, was obtained by The Dallas Express. According to the order, “The Court finds there is evidence that harm is imminent to [Johnson],” and she will be “irreparably injured” if the appropriation of her likeness is permitted to continue.
The order restrains Walker and her campaign from “generating or disseminating any advertisements, promotional materials, or other campaign items using Eddie Bernice Johnson’s name, image, and or likeness” and from “using Eddie Bernice Johnson’s name, image, or likeness in advertisements, promotional materials, and internet materials.”
While the original order required Walker to “retrieve and destroy any advertisements” using Johnson’s name, image, or likeness “that have already been released or placed in public view,” Judge Wysocki decided upon signing it to allow those materials which are already public to remain — including campaign signs along with content on Walker’s campaign website and social media.
Walker is set to appear before the court on the same day the TRO expires, November 18, to “determine whether the temporary restraining order should be made a temporary injunction pending a full trial on the merits.”
While a temporary restraining order is only valid for 14 days, a temporary injunction remains in place until the case is over.