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Heated Dispute In Dallas Co. Constable Race Over Name

DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – It’s turning into a nasty Democratic primary fight, and it’s all over a name.

Dallas County Precinct 5 Constable Beth Villarreal is suing Susan Craig, a past employee who’s now running against her, in an attempt to get her kicked off the ballot.

Villarreal’s attorney, Victoria Neave says they’re taking Craig to court so “that we don’t get a candidate on the ballot who violated and continues to violate the election code.”

Villarreal accuses Craig of violating the election code by using a different name on the ballot – Susan Lopez Craig instead of her legal name Susan Elaine Craig.

Craig is a former deputy constable and DART police officer who now works in the Dallas ISD Police Department.

Craig, nor her attorney Jason Friedman, would comment on their way into court.

But during a hearing Thursday, Craig told the judge she was born with the name Elaine Lopez, as shown on her birth certificate and high school diploma, and that many people still know her last name as Lopez.

Villarreal’s attorney though then showed a court document from 38 years ago when Craig was adopted at the age of 18.

She had her legal name changed to Susan Elaine Craig – with no mention of Lopez in her name.

Craig acknowledges Susan Craig appears on her driver’s license and other legal documents.

Villarreal’s attorney says, “We think a different name is being used to try to mislead voters about her identity.”

In response, Craig’s attorneys filed a counter-claim saying Villarreal is using her maiden name once again on the ballot and questioned whether that is her legal name.

Craig’s attorneys cite the fact that Villarreal has been married three times.

Regardless, the attorney representing Dallas County Elections Administrator Toni Pippins-Poole told Judge Gena Slaughter that this case needs to be settled quickly because the county will be sending the ballots to the printer next week.

The hearing will resume Friday morning.

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