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Democratic unity in the state Senate could doom David Whitley’s Secretary of State bid

Posted: 1:11 PM, Feb 22, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-22 14:11:26-05

All 12 Democrats in the Texas Senate have confirmed they are opposed to confirming embattled Secretary of State David Whitley.

The Texas Tribune reports that unity provides them with more than enough votes to block his nomination if they are all in the chamber when his vote begins.

The Tribune reports that the Democratic unity appears to be enough to scuttle plans for Whitley’s confirmation.

In order to be confirmed, Whitley needs a two-thirds vote in the 31-member chamber.

But whether he will be able to make it that far remains uncertain.

The Democrats have heavily criticized Whitley’s controversial voter citizenship review, which was based on deeply flawed data. It also seemingly added thousands of registered voters to that list for review because they were naturalized citizens.

Opposition to Whitley intensified on Thursday after a variety of civil rights and advocacy groups have called on the Senate Democrats to remain firm in their opposition to Whitley.

Whitley was appointed to his post by Gov. Greg Abbott in December. Abbott remains steadfast in his support for Whitley, who was not immediately confirmed last year after the election because the Legislature was not yet in session.

The Tribune reports that if Whitley’s nomination is left pending for the remainder of the session, he can serve only until the Legislature leaves Austin in late May. Abbott then could nominate a replacement who would immediately assume the secretary of state job at least until the next legislative session begins in 2021.

And if the Senate votes and Whitley is rejected, he must leave office immediately.