UPDATE, 8/17/23, 11 a.m.: Gonzalez has petitioned the court to dismiss the lawsuit challenging her eligibility, citing a lack of evidence.
Her motion to dismiss the suit said it “has proven markedly deficient in providing the requisite evidential foundation.”
Read the motion to dismiss here:
ORIGINAL STORY: LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Matters are getting heated in Lafayette’s mayor-president race after Democratic candidate Priscilla Gonzalez had a lawsuit filed challenging her eligibility for the office by Aimee Robinson on Wednesday.
Robinson said her request to file a lawsuit started as she was an “active Democrat” in the Hub City and sits on the party’s state central committee.
“I know Democrats in the city, so when I saw that someone had entered at the last minute, it immediately raised a red flag for me,” Robinson said. “This isn’t the first time I’ve done this; have someone disqualified. The qualifications are by penalty of perjury, so I have a feeling that a lot of these get through, and this one just caught my eye and made me want to dig a little further.”
Gonzalez discredits Robinson’s claims and stated she was “already pre-warned.”
“I have resided, and I can provide proof that I was here on November 20, 2020, so that’s a little over three years. I do have a federal ID that states that I resided at 301 Gerald Street, and I’m qualified. Other than that, she has no basis for her claims,” said Gonzalez. “I’m pretty well educated. I’m prepared. I do know to try a case in federal court. So I do question the motives that Aimee Robinson has by using taxpayer dollars by using the court system and the court’s time.”
Robinson claims Gonzalez does not meet residency requirements and never filed taxes in the state. She adds Gonzalez registered to vote the day she qualified.
“Our home rule charter in our local election states that you must be a resident legally residing here for a year. If you don’t have a Louisiana driver’s license, then you’re not legally residing here,” she said. “The LDR does not have any record of her filing any Louisiana taxes returns or any extensions on file.”
Gonzalez said despite having to deal with a lawsuit, she wants the community to know she is there to serve the people.
“I want people to know that I am here with good intentions. I’m here for the community to stand with the community. Estoy aquí para que la comunidad apoye a la comunidad,” she said. “I believe people should vote for me because there are no other viable candidates that are qualified for the position. I’m qualified for the position. I do have experience working on legislation. I’m here to stand for every single person in Lafayette, Louisiana. I’m here to improve the quality of life for everybody. I’m here to work on infrastructure. I’m here to work on our houseless community. I’m here to give back to the community. I’m here to serve you, and I’m here for you.”
Robinson said election integrity, a hot political topic these days, is the issue.
“We talk about nationally, we talk about statewide, but it starts here in our backyard, and that’s where you can make a difference,” Robinson said. “You can always make a difference here at the local level, and if something seems good to be true, like a Democratic candidate dropping from the sky, then it probably is. Regardless of what her qualifications to get into the race are, this, unfortunately, would have pulled votes from qualified candidates. We have a lot of issues going on here in Lafayette that need to be addressed, and we need qualified people to address them.”
Gonzalez was ordered by the court to sit for a deposition on Friday, and a trial date was set for Monday, Aug. 21.
Gonzalez is one of three candidates who qualified to run for Lafayette Mayor-President in the Oct. 14 primary election, along with incumbent Josh Guillory and challengers Monique Blanco Boulet and Jan Swift.