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Texas 'Grandma' Governor Candidate Sues to Get Nickname on Ballot

Independent candidate for governor Carole Keeton Strayhorn sued the Texas secretary of state Wednesday in her attempt to have the nickname "Grandma" listed along with her full name on the Nov. 7 ballot.

Strayhorn warned earlier this week that the lawsuit was coming after Secretary of State Roger Williams ruled that "Grandma" is a slogan, not a nickname permitted on the ballot.

Strayhorn's attorney, Roy Minton, filed the lawsuit in state district court. It alleges that Williams denied Strayhorn the right to have her nickname on the ballot as provided for by the Texas Election Code.

Minton stated that the word "Grandma" has never been a slogan. Minton has said that Strayhorn began using the name when she became a grandmother in 1994.

The secretary of state said he took several factors into account in deciding Strayhorn's ballot name request. He noted that Strayhorn has never appeared on an election ballot under the name "Grandma" and that her declaration of intent to run as an independent, as well as her petitions to get on the ballot, listed her as "Carole Keeton Strayhorn."

Williams did allow independent candidate Kinky Friedman to be listed as Richard "Kinky" Friedman on the ballot.

"This is not the first time that Carole Strayhorn has sued Secretary Williams for upholding Texas' law," Williams' spokesman Scott Haywood said. He said they were confident the courts would agree with Williams' interpretation of the Texas Election Code.

Strayhorn and Friedman are trying to oust Republican Gov. Rick Perry and become the first independent elected Texas governor since Sam Houston in 1859.

Democrat Chris Bell and Libertarian James Werner also are running.

Strayhorn, one of Perry's biggest rivals because of her large campaign account and time spent in statewide office, has claimed Williams, as Perry's hand-picked secretary of state, is using his office in a political fashion.

She previously sued Williams in federal court over his interpretation of ballot access laws.