Elections are on

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Brown bows out of fight to block District 67 race

By Dale James / Selma Times – Journal

LaTosha Brown has dropped her months-long effort to overturn Yusuf Salaam’s election as the Democratic nominee for the state House of Representatives District 67 seat.

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She is not, however, throwing in the towel.

In a baffling series of legal maneuvers this week, Brown’s own attorneys asked that a suit filed in federal court seeking to enjoin the November 5 general election be dismissed.

An attorney for Brown indicated that Brown will now focus her efforts on a write-in campaign that has been building momentum in recent weeks.

Brown led a field of nine candidates with 3,399 votes in the June 4 Democratic primary. Salaam came in second with 2,148 votes. Salaam then defeated Brown by 138 votes in the June 25 runoff.

Brown herself expressed confidence that the write-in campaign will enable her to wrest the election from Salaam – something she was unable to accomplish after contesting the runoff results to the Democratic Party subcommittee, then appealing a 5-0 ruling against her to the full state Democratic executive committee.

Mark Story is the Republican candidate for the District 67 seat.

Toure said that while they are no longer seeking to have Brown declared the rightful Democratic candidate, they intend to pursue criminal charges over allegations of absentee ballot fraud, illegal destruction of election materials, and unlawful entry of the storage area where election materials were kept.

She also indicated that criminal charges will be sought against the roughly 300 people who had been subpoenaed to testify when the election was contested to the state Democratic Party subcommittee, but who failed to appear.

The already labyrinthine case took several bizarre twists Tuesday that left even one of the attorneys involved figuratively scratching his head.

In federal court on Monday, Toure filed a motion on behalf of Brown, the plaintiff, to dismiss the case without prejudice – that is, without deciding in favor of one party or the other.

Kelly objected to the motion to dismiss without prejudice, calling on U.S. District Court Judge Ira DeMent to dismiss the case in Salaam’s favor.

Toure then filed a motion to withdraw her motion to dismiss.

If it starts to get a little confusing at this point, don’t despair.

After sorting through the motions and counter-motions, DeMent dismissed the case Tuesday without prejudice, ruling that it had effectively been dismissed as soon as Toure filed her original motion to dismiss.

DeMent expressed his frustration with some of the legal maneuvering in the case in a footnote to his ruling.

Toure said she has asked Dallas County District Attorney Ed Greene to appoint a grand jury to investigate the allegations of illegal destruction of election materials.