Shenandoah and Magnolia, November 6 – Sign problems are plaguing the November 6 General Election in Montgomery County. Interestingly, the problems all seem to emanate from or have a strong tie to the Riley PAC, the fake political action committee which Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner Charlie Riley and his campaign manager formed to fight for the right of the political establishment to disregard citizen rights and citizen beliefs.
Riley formed his PAC, under the name “Republican Voters of Texas PAC” and instilled Ritzy Fletcher, wife of City of Shenandoah Councilman Ted Fletcher, Riley’s former campaign manager and close political supporter Linda Stuckey, and John Webb, also a close Riley ally, as its officers, with Riley’s current campaign manager, Kristin Nichole, on its board and the person who prepares all of its advertising and messaging. The Riley PAC has generally supported democrat candidates for Montgomery County Judge (ultraliberal gay rights activist and democrat Jay Stittleburg), the United States Senate (former burglar and Irishman Robert Francis O’Rourke), and other positions, while also supporting candidates who seek to continue to high water bills and monopolistic practices of the San Jacinto River Authority by allowing the Lone Star Groundwater Conservative District to over-regulate the private property use of groundwater.
City of Shenandoah
Early Tuesday, November 6, 2018, with Ritzy Fletcher looking on, the City of Shenandoah removed the Montgomery County Republican Party’s political signs from the Precinct 31 Polling Location at the Shenandoah Municipal Complex on Interstate 45. Fletcher later explained that the signs had to go because they are Republican Party signs as opposed to signs supporting specific candidates.
The problem with Shenandoah’s action against the Montgomery County Republican Party is a little statute on the books known as “The First Amendment.” While a government entity may impose reasonable time, place, and manner regulations for political speech, it may not ban political speech because of its content under the Bill of Rights. In this instance, the City of Shenandoah and Fletcher banned the “Republicans Are The Party Of Reform” signs, because they are political party signs as opposed to signs supporting only one candidate.
The restriction doesn’t have any reasonable purpose. Only allowing individual candidate signs, as opposed to signs for all candidates of one party, would actually have the impact of causing the placement of more, not fewer, signs at polling locations. More importantly, however, the City of Shenandoah banned the signs because they are political party signs, meaning they engaged in content-based prior restraints of free speech, a direct violation of both the United States and Texas Constitutions.
Disappearance of Keough for County Judge signs and the Stuckey connection
Last night between midnight and 3 a.m., the sign placement team of Mark Keough, the Republican Nominee for Montgomery County Judge, placed two four foot by four foot signs and approximately two dozen 18 by 24 inch signs at Voting Precinct 29, the West Montgomery County Community Building. When the polls opened this morning at 7 a.m., all of Keough’s signs had disappeared, but the signs of Keough’s democrat opponent, Stittleburg, had remained intact through the morning.
The Precinct 29 Chair and Election Judge is none other than Stuckey who is a Riley PAC board member. Supporters for Riley’s re-election campaign for County Commissioner include both Fletcher, who has campaigned openly for democrats during this election cycle, and James Nelson, another Riley lieutenant who campaigned for Stittleburg, the democrat, during the past two weeks.
Keough’s signs had disappeared from some other locations in the Magnolia area as well, but they were completely gone from Stuckey’s Voting Box.
The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, thanks the two private citizens who assisted in the research for this article. Both of those heroes have requested that this newspaper withhold their names.