I just got back from the 2 hour hearing on Philip Hostettler's suit in Chancery Court to stop the run-off election (which begins with early voting in the morning at 8:00). The hearing included an adjournment for over 30 minutes, which allowed Judge Bonnyman to consider the merits of each side's arguments.
When she returned, she ruled that the at-Large run-off does not do irreparable harm to Mr. Hostettler and that his "coming late" (after the 10-day allowance to contest election results) with the injunction request did not put him in a good position to protect his own rights as a candidate, especially since he has known since May (when Charlie Tygard declared his candidacy) that he could contend the legitimacy of District Members running for at-Large openings. The judge also ruled that the Supreme Court decision regarding Knox County does not address what her court sees as two different Metro positions (District Member and at-Large Member).
In her remarks before adjourning, Judge Bonnyman stated that she had made a financial contribution to one of the at-Large campaigns in May, but that none of those involved in this law suit were the beneficiaries of that contribution. Hence, she did not believe it necessary to disqualify herself from judging this case.
Mr. Hostettler was prepared to call witnesses (which the Judge denied) and his lawyer intends to pursue a trial on the election results in the future, and future plaintiffs might involve at-Large candidates who made the run-off. No court date had been set when I left at 5:00 and paid my $10.00 admission fee to get my car out of the Courthouse parking garage.
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