Judge Orders Bexar County Democratic Party Chair Not to Call Meetings or Dismiss More Precinct Heads

click to enlarge Bexar County Democratic Party Chairwoman Monica Alcantara speaks to the press outside the Bexar County Courthouse. - Sanford Nowlin
Sanford Nowlin
Bexar County Democratic Party Chairwoman Monica Alcantara speaks to the press outside the Bexar County Courthouse.
The fight for control of the Bexar County Democratic Party is far from over.

A Bexar County District Judge has issued a temporary restraining order preventing party Chairwoman Monica Alcantara from calling new meetings until a legal dispute over the the recent dismissal of several top officials is concluded. The order also prevents Alcantara from removing additional precinct chairs or appointing new ones during that time.

Judge Sid Harle, who issued the order, is hearing a suit brought by BCDP members who were removed from their posts during a vote last month. The plaintiffs — who include former treasurer Garrett Mormando and former secretary Stephanie Carrillo — claim Alcantara violated state law in addition to state and local party rules by organizing a referendum for their ouster.

"These issues I'm litigating right now are [BCPD executive committee] issues and need to be taken care of by the [BCPD executive committee], not unilaterally by Monica Alcantara," said Robert “Woody” Wilson, an attorney for the removed officials. "She's been making decisions on her own and not going through the proper process to do things."

But Alcantara disputed that she broke any laws or party rules. The restraining order, she added, was simply intended to allow the plaintiffs to gather evidence until the case's next hearing, set for April 22.

"It's not as if this order is a victory for the plaintiffs," Alcantara said. "The judge has simply given some of them more time to provide information to support their case."

The legal fight continues a months-long struggle for control of BCDP between members supportive of Alcantara — elected into her position last year — and those loyal to Manuel Medina, the longtime chairman she beat out for the position.

Both Democratic elected officials and political experts have cautioned that the continued infighting could cut into the party's ability to mobilize voters for the 2020 election cycle. Democrats have made a priority of building on the gains the made in Texas during the 2018 midterms.

Stay on top of San Antonio news and views. Sign up for our Weekly Headlines Newsletter.