State rep candidate alleges harassment

October 28, 2008 4:48:26 PM PDT
For the most part, the voting this election year has gone smoothly. But there have been a couple of bumps in the road when it comes to local political campaigns. On Monday, we told you about some vandalism and stolen political signs in Ft. Bend County. And now, we're hearing of a dispute over one state representative candidate who is claiming he was harassed by law enforcement.

We're talking about the campaign for State Representative 126, a district that covers northwest Harris County. The Democratic challenger is accusing the incumbent of wielding her political clout to harass his supporters and she says those accusations are ridiculous.

On Tuesday, there was a line of early voters waiting outside Barbara Bush Library, not knowing that just around the corner, a small park is at the center of a political debate. It's where Democratic challenger Chad Khan held a barbecue over the weekend when he was confronted by several Precinct 4 constable deputies.

"'Sir, you cannot have no political rally, you can't hand out no stickers, no brochures,'" said Khan, telling us what he was told. "'If you do anything, we have to ask you to leave.'"

The constable's office says it was simply enforcing a regulation that doesn't allow political events at parks.

"The Precinct 4 parks have specific rules and guidelines that everyone has to follow, and in this case, there was a rule that they couldn't have the kind of political gathering they were having there," said Assistant Chief Mark Herman with the Precinct 4 Constable's Office.

But Khan sees it differently, pointing out that Precinct 4 Constable Ron Hickman is also the treasurer for Partricia Harless, the Republican incumbent of the seat for which he's running.

"Ron Hickman, he's my opponent's treasurer, and he's sending five deputies to play these dirty tricks, to scare people not to vote," said Khan.

It's an assertion that angers the constable's office.

"That is completely ludicrous to even imply that," said Herman.

Precinct 4 insists it was simply following the law and Khan's opponent says the accusations are unfair.

"I think he's spreading some lies. He's got bad information and is spreading some lies," said Harless.

Khan says that he held a similar event at the same park without incident two years ago. But the constable's office says if they had known about that barbecue, the same rules would have applied.

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