I don’t feel enough about this story is known yet to comment strongly, though I do feel that Rep. Tom DeLay was demonized for a willingness to successfully play hardball while Republican. Still, much more may come out about this during ethics investigations and his indictments at the hand of Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, so for now I’ll settle for a little all-Texas link dump.
Houston Chronicle: DeLay says prospect of losing led him to step down
U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay decided more than a week ago to resign his seat, disappointed with the margin of his Republican primary victory and looking at poll numbers that showed he might lose the seat in November, he said today.
His internal polling showed he had a 50-50 chance of winning in November, he said.
“The district was very polarized,” he said. “I had strong support and strong opposition.”
He would have had to draw votes of moderate Republicans and independents, he said.
“Why risk it, when we can save the seat?,” he said. The district leans Republican. “I’m incredibly confident I’m not leaving the 22nd District in jeopardy.”
Former U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson is the Democratic nominee for the 22nd congressional district seat.
Lampson, whom DeLay has long lampooned as the “Hollywood” candidate because of his financial support from Democrats outside the state who oppose DeLay, will see that money supply dry up if he’s running against less of a lightning rod than DeLay, the congressman predicted.
“He’s got enough to run a campaign right now, but it’s not going to be a referendum on me,” DeLay said. “He has to defend his voting record.”
DeLay, the subject of more ethics investigations than any other member of Congress, has been under increasing pressure from a sprawling investigation into political corruption that grew out of the lobbying activities of Jack Abramoff, with whom he had close political ties.
The ongoing investigation has an impact on him politically.
“I’m a realist and understand that,” he said. “But all they have is guilt by association. I’ve served honestly and ethically. I’ve never broken a law or a House rule.”
DeLay said he’s not going away, but will fight for conservative causes in a different arena. And he says he will work to elect a conservative Republican as his successor.
Houston Chronicle: Many show interest in seat
Familiar and lesser-known political names emerged Monday night as possible contenders for the congressional seat being vacated by Republican U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay.
Those who acknowledged interest in the seat or were mentioned as contenders included Harris County Judge Robert Eckels, state Rep. Robert Talton, Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace, Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, former state District Judge John Devine and lawyer Tom Campbell, who ran against DeLay in the March Republican Primary.
Harris County Republican Party Chairman Jared Woodfill said he started receiving calls from interested officials within minutes of hearing the news of DeLay’s decision.
“Numerous people have called me inquiring about the seat,” he said.
Other phones also were ringing as politicians gauged potential support or heard from backers.
“I’ve had a number of calls this evening. I’ll visit with my family and look at the process,” Eckels said. “I do have an interest in at least looking at the race.”
He said that his experience coordinating the local response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita left him frustrated with the federal government and its impact on local issues.
Sugar Land Mayor Wallace said he got wind of DeLay’s decision over the weekend and began organizing a campaign.
“I’m running for that spot,” Wallace said Monday night.
“It is going to be a sprint. We have been working this weekend and today kind of organizing our campaign making sure we pull together a grass-roots team,” Wallace said.
Sekula-Gibbs, who lives in Clear Lake, said she has received several calls from local Republicans asking her if she would be interested in the seat.
“I’m saddened that the congressman has decided to step down, but I’m interested in the position,” she said. “I’m definitely giving it very serious consideration.”
Campbell, who came in a distant second with 30 percent of the vote in the March primary, said he still wants the position.
“I believe that Tom DeLay did the right thing in stepping aside and allowing the Republican Party to move forward,” Campbell said.
A special election to fill the remainder of DeLay’s term likely will be held on the next uniform election date, which is in May. Gov. Rick Perry will set the date.
It was unclear Monday night how Republicans will select a November nominee to replace DeLay, who won the GOP primary in March.
“We’ve never had this happen in a congressional race,” Woodfill said. “We’ll have a little bit of time to figure it out. We have our lawyers looking at it.”
At issue is whether the responsibility for selecting a nominee falls to the 62-member state Republican Executive Committee or to GOP officials in the five counties that lie partly within the 22nd Congressional District.
“It’s in our best interest to choose a nominee before the special election. Otherwise, the election is going to be a free-for-all,” Woodfill said. “The situation you don’t want is for our nominee to be someone different than the person who runs for the special.”
DeLay is expected to resign officially sometime after April 7 and move to Virginia to work with a conservative organization.
That would make him ineligible to run despite his nomination, opening the way for party officials to select another nominee, Woodfill said.
Petrified Truth: DeLay out?
DeLay has outlived his usefulness in advancing the conservative cause, but I do hate to see moonbat Austin D.A. Ronnie Earle get even part of what he wanted.
TexasRainmaker: Tom Delay Sacrifices Himself for Conservative Cause
Delay certainly understood that the campaign would be a rough one. Heâ€™s also an experienced student of the numbers and realized that for the first time in 22 years he would have a real fight on his hands. But he also realized that fight wasnâ€™t about constituents of District 22, but rather Delay himself. Thereâ€™s sure to be much speculation surrounding his decisionâ€¦
But I think it just insures a Republican keeps the seat. His opponent, Nick Lampson has already been defeated down here and was only campaigning on the â€œTom Delay is evilâ€ mantra.
Rightwingsparkle: Tom Delay will resign
I never liked Delay. I can’t really say why. God knows he isn’t as bad as many in Congress and he was right on most of the issues, but there was just something that didn’t seem right with him. He was just a bit too slick for me. I never liked Newt Gingrich either. I get my vibes about people and I stay with them. I always seem to be right.
Here’s hoping for better leadership.
The Fire Ant Gazette: …
[Quiet on the DeLay story, but Eric does note with reservation that Peter Jackson is making a movie based on the Halo video game. Just thought I’d throw in that tidbit]