Dallas County Republican Party Chairman Jennifer Stoddard-Hajdu and her husband Mark Hajdu have recently been accused of felony government document tampering by Dallas Democrats.
A lawyer on behalf of Kristy Noble, Dallas County Democratic Party chairman, sent a letter to the Public Integrity Unit of the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office laying out what they claim was a concerted effort by Stoddard-Hajdu and her husband, Mark, to defraud and harm the eventual Democratic nominee for House District 114, John Bryant.
Noble claimed that after redistricting forced Luisa del Rosal to abandon her run for HD 114 as a Republican in October, Stoddard-Hajdu and her husband conspired to manipulate election law in order to find a suitable replacement for the Republican nomination beyond the filing deadline.
According to Noble, after no other Republicans filed to run by the last day of the filing period, Mark Hajdu filed an application for the Republican primary, claiming that his residence of 19 years was within the boundaries of HD 114.
This application was then completed and signed by Stoddard-Hajdu, who lives at the same residence, in her capacity as Dallas County Republican Party chairman, which included an affirmation that Mark Hajdu’s voter registration status had been verified.
Bruce Anton, attorney for Noble, claimed that the Hajdus both “well knew that [Mark] did not live in that district and was therefore ineligible to hold that office.”
Anton went on to say, “Filing that fraudulent application subsequently allows the Republicans to wait until the primary was decided so they can cherry pick a Republican candidate they deem most suitable to run against the Democratic nominee.”
In supporting documents submitted to the Public Integrity Unit, Noble’s attorney outlines how this would work in practice. In essence, the winner of a party’s primary will appear on the general election ballot unless the candidate withdraws or is ruled ineligible by the county party chairman or county party’s executive committee.
If the candidate withdraws, they may not be replaced with another candidate. However, if a candidate is ruled ineligible, they may be replaced by a majority vote of their party’s precinct chairpersons for the district in question.
Failure to meet residency requirements is a well-established reason for declaring a candidate ineligible.
At some point after the Republican primary, Mark Hajdu was declared ineligible; however, by whom exactly remains unclear. In her capacity as county party chairman, his wife could have made the declaration. Currently, there is no official Republican candidate for HD 114.
Under the “Tampering with Governmental Record” statute in the Texas Penal Code, a person commits an offense if he or she “knowingly makes a false entry in, or false alteration of, a governmental record.”
Specifically, if the governmental record is an application for a place on the ballot and the “actor knowingly provides false information,” the crime is considered a Class B Misdemeanor, a low-level offense punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.
However, the statute contains a provision, cited by Noble’s attorney in a memorandum to prosecutors, which says that if the actor’s intent is “to defraud or harm another… the offense is a state jail felony,” which carries up to two years in jail and a fine of $10,000. As a felony, it also carries serious Second Amendment and voting rights implications.
Noble argues that this alleged scheme has, in fact, harmed John Bryant, the Democratic nominee for HD 114, by manipulating the election process to produce a more formidable opponent than he would have otherwise faced.
“Our voters deserve to have the processes followed by both sides, by both parties, to make sure that everything is fair. It appears that that was not done in this case,” Noble told the Dallas Observer.
Mark Hajdu, who the Dallas Observer reached by phone, said that these claims are “absolutely inaccurate” and “fraudulent.”
Through a representative, his wife was equally unequivocal, stating, “This allegation is totally without merit. It’s political harassment, pure and simple, and it’s going nowhere.”
The Dallas Express reached out to Stoddard-Hajdu for comment and asked for clarification on the current state of the seat but received no reply.