Democrats are not allowed to endorse Republicans. Party rules say so. Democrat Lloyd Oliver admits he said nice things about a Republican, but too late to affect even a single vote. And now you won't be able to vote for him.
Oliver has a truck full of campaign signs and back on the May Primary Day, collected more than 31,000 votes. It got him 52 percent of the vote, but he found out Wednesday that wasn't enough for a spot on the November ballot.
"The Democratic Party is going to nullify the votes of about 30,000 people who voted for me," Oliver said.
The party today threw Oliver off the November ballot because, in their mind, he endorsed Pat Lykos, the Republican incumbent and that's not allowed in Democratic primaries.
"The Democrats support free speech, we're one of the reasons that that's protected by law. But at the same time, if you want to run for the Democratic Party, you have to support our candidates," said Chan Dunn, the Harris County Democratic Party's attorney.
The complaint filed against Oliver alleges Oliver told reporters he'd vote for Pat Lykos. But he said it once the day after the primary and another time two weeks after the primary. It was after voting was over, but before the results were official.
"Did you endorse Pat Lykos during the primary?" we asked Oliver.
"Well, not during the primary, after the primary. I made two statements about her, more specifically I said she'd done a great job and I support Pat Lykos and if I was a Republican, I could vote in the Republican Primary, I would've voted for her. I would, I think she's done a great job," he replied.
"When did you say that?" we asked.
"The day after election," he said.
Either way, Oliver is off the ballot for now, which may be what some Democrats wanted all along. He is a perennial candidate who wasn't expected to win.
Oliver himself says running for political office is good to drum up legal business. The longtime criminal defense attorney has been indicted more than once for unethical legal business but never convicted.
"They're trying to get me off the ballot because their man didn't get elected. That makes the Democrats look bad," Oliver said.
"Do you expect to be on the ballot in November?" we asked.
"Oh yeah. Oh yeah," he said.
Just as surprising, the Democrats decided not to replace Oliver at all, giving Republicans the office without a fight. Now, the Republican in the race, Mike Anderson told us:
"Today's events have little bearing on my approach to this election. I am running to restore honor and integrity to the office of Harris County District Attorney and I intend to run a vigorous campaign."
It won't have to be too vigorous -- there's no opponent.
The state Democratic party agreed with the Harris County Democratic party. Oliver is off the ballot but vows to fight in federal court. Here's the letter that was sent to Harris County Democrats.