Disqualified Mayor-President Candidate Seems to Endorse Opponent After Being Denied Appeal
LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL News) - A Lafayette mayor-president candidate previously disqualified from the race was denied an appeal after filing it past the deadline.
Priscilla Gonzalez had qualified for the race for mayor-president of Lafayette, but her candidacy was immediately challenged in court, with local activists alleging that she had not lived in Lafayette Parish for more than a year as required by law.
Judge Valerie Gotch Garrett ruled that she had not proved her residency and disqualified her from the race.
More on the ruling, via The Current:
Before a crowded courtroom, 15th Judicial Court Judge Valerie Gotch Garrett found that Gonzalez was unable to show that she was a “qualified elector,” as is required, when she went to the parish courthouse Aug. 10, evidenced by questions left unanswered in her qualifying form, including the parish, ward and precinct where she lived. “It was blank,” the judge said, noting Gonzalez testified that she had never voted in Lafayette Parish.
Gonzalez said she delayed her voter registration because she was undecided about whether she would return to Corpus Christi or remain in Lafayette. The 39-year-old ran for mayor of Corpus Christi in November 2020, the last time records show her voting in that state and the same month she says she moved to Lafayette to care for her mother and stepfather who live in Lafayette.
Gonzalez was given a chance to appeal, but the deadline was Monday at noon. According to the court, her appeal was submitted after 1 p.m. Monday, and she was denied her appeal, according to KATC.
Gonzalez did file a motion - but not until after 1 p.m. on Monday, court records show.
In her denial, the judge stated that Gonzalez had until noon to file the document, and it was stamped as received by the clerk at 1:12 p.m. The judge also noted that some of the documents Gonzalez attached had not been entered into evidence during Friday's hearing, and ordered that they be removed from the record.
As we reported earlier today, we checked with the clerk after noon and found that no documents had been filed. We reached out to Gonzalez, who represented herself during Friday's hearing. She said "the appeal has been entered into the record, it is up to the courts now to decide."
We spoke to the clerk's attorney again, who told us that it had been filed after 1 p.m. and thus after the deadline.
In the wake of that decision, it appears that Gonzalez has shifted and is endorsing one of her would-be opponents in the race, Monique Blanco-Boulet.
Boulet is one of two challengers running against incumbent Republican Josh Guillory. She and Jan Swift are both running as Republicans in the race. Gonzalez had initially qualified as a Democrat before being removed from the race.
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