Local

Incumbent Drops Lawsuit Against Challenger In Dallas Co. Constable Race

Jack Fink, CBS 11 News | CBSDFW.COM
Beth Villareal (l), Susan Craig (r) (credit: KTVT)

Beth Villareal (l), Susan Craig (r) (credit: KTVT)

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jack Fink
Jack moved to Dallas after three years at WESH-TV, the NBC affil...
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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – A relieved Susan Lopez-Craig walked out of court knowing she can continue to keep her name on the ballot in the race to unseat her former boss, Dallas County Precinct 5 Constable Beth Villarreal.

Lopez-Craig said, “Very, very happy, elated.”

Villarreal took Lopez-Craig to court to try to get her kicked off the ballot because she was including the Lopez name, which is different from her legal name.

Villarreal said, “I don’t believe Ms.Craig was being transparent.”

Lopez-Craig was born Elaine Lopez as shown on her birth certificate and high school diploma. But Villarreal’s campaign showed Lopez-Craig’s name was legally changed to Susan Elaine Craig when she was adopted 38 years ago.

Before Judge Gena Slaughter could rule though, Villarreal agreed to drop her case.

Villarreal said, “I’m actually pleased. I’m happy I’m relieved that it’s over. I’m a little disappointed because I didn’t get exactly what we were asking.”

Lopez-Craig believes, “I felt like she tried to take away my heritage from me. Lopez, and I’m very, very proud to be a Lopez.”

Villarreal’s attorney, Victoria Neave disagreed saying, “Absolutely not. This has nothing to do with these issues.”

Neave said they settled the case because of their own concerns after Lopez-Craig’s attorney raised questions about whether Villarreal was using her legal name.

Neave said, “For us the concern was that she’d be required to use her husband’s last name as well, which is a name she has not been known by and the potential can of worms that could be opened in that instance.”

Dallas County’s Democratic Party Chair Darlene Ewing originally certified Lopez-Craig’s name to appear on the ballot.

Ewing said, “If the court were to find that once you legally change your name either by marriage or adoption, you can no longer use your maiden name as your surname, then I think Constable Villarreal could have been in the same danger as Susan Lopez-Craig, and they both could have been kicked off the ballot.”

Four candidates in Dallas County’s Precinct 5 Constable race remain on the ballot: Villarreal, Lopez-Craig, along with Michael Orozco, and Rick Lozano.

Lozano said he doesn’t understand why Villarreal raised the issue.

Orozco says he believes in democracy, and that elections should be decided by voters, not the courts.

Follow Jack Fink on Twitter @cbs11jack

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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