May 11, 2005
An interview with Nick Lampson

As everyone now knows, Nick Lampson has declared himself a candidate for the Democratic nomination in CD22 for 2006. Lampson had served for eight years as the Congressman from the former CD09, taking office in 1997 after doing America a favor by ousting one-term extremist Steve Stockman. He's the first political candidate I ever gave money to, and I expect to support him wholeheartedly this time around.

I had the opportunity to ask him a few questions recently. Please take a moment to get to know Nick Lampson, and if you like what you see, it's never too early to help out.

Why didn't you run against Tom DeLay in 2004? Did you think that you had a better chance in CD 2 than in CD 22? And if so, why does you think you can win in CD 22 in 2006?

In 2004, I was asked to run in the 2nd, 14th, and 22nd Congressional districts by folks living in each. Frankly, there were strong cases made for running in each of them. I ultimately felt a responsibility to the place where I'd started in politics - the new 2nd district.

Polling before the 2004 race suggested I would do very well in the 22nd district. I think my moderate record and consensus-building approach are the right fit in District 22 at this time, which, by the way, continues to become more favorable territory for Democrats. I'm not a grandstander, not pushing a personal or party agenda. I really believe this is about public service, and going to work every day for the folks who send me there.

Could you please elaborate on the Quan/Morrison meeting and the DCCC involvement in the race?

I had an excellent meeting with Richard and Gordon, both of whom are fine men. Nothing was conclusively resolved that day, but as you know Richard decided not to make the race. I believe Gordon is still weighing his options, though I've not talked to him recently. I do believe I'm the strongest candidate to make this race.

Obviously, the DCCC is very interested in this race. It's hard to tell at this early date what the extent of their involvement will be, but I do expect them to be involved.

Obviously, Tom DeLay and his ethical woes have been very much in the news lately. How will that affect your strategy and your message in this race? How do you plan to convince suburban/exurban conservative voters that you are not just another Democrat?

My answer here might surprise you. I actually don't plan to make Tom Delay the focus of this race. Let's face it, his name is in the paper an awful lot these days - folks can make up their own minds there. My plan is to concentrate on introducing myself - my common sense values, my history of consensus-building - to the people of District 22. I've gotten a lot of independent and crossover Republican support in the past, and I believe I can do it again. I think people are tired of controversy and bitter partisanship. I think they feel left out of the discussion when they hear about all this stuff going on in Washington. They're going about their daily lives - working hard, raising their kids - and I believe they want their representatives in government who roll up their sleeves and go to work for them every day, just like they do. I've done that in all my previous public service, and will do it again for District 22.

This will be an expensive race. How much do you think you'll need to raise, and how confident are you that you can do it?

This race will be expensive, no question. I am a proven fundraiser, and am confident I'll raise what I need to win next year. It's hard to say exactly how much that will be, but I would guess in the $4 to $5 million range. And you can bet Mr. Delay will raise whatever he needs to, as well. I don't think money will be the issue in this race - we'll both be able to get our messages out.

Though you once represented 30% of what is now CD22, you live in Beaumont and would have to move in order to reside in the district. Do you believe this will be a disadvantage? How will that affect how you campaign? What are your plans for establishing residency in CD22?

I did represent about 130,000 of the people in current District 22, who were in the old 9th District. Many people may not realize it, but I have a long family history in Fort Bend County. My grandparents settled in Stafford nearly 100 years ago. My parents both grew up there, and married there. I spent a great deal of time on my grandparents' farm, along with my siblings, even working the fields. Jebbia Lane, where my relatives are (and where I will live) is named after my mother's family. My grandfather was a security guard at the Imperial Sugar plant; my uncle Nick, for whom I'm named, was the postmaster of Stafford; another relative was a county commissioner there. I have deep roots in District 22 - frankly deeper than Mr. Delay's by a long shot. I really don't think it will be much of an issue. This race will be about character, values, and common sense ideas.

What do you think you did right in your 2004 race, and what do you think you did wrong? What do you hope to improve on and to do differently this time around?

My campaign team and I worked our hearts out during the last campaign, but losing that race was a great disappointment. There were some dynamics in the presidential race that were certainly out of my control. One thing I plan to do is spend more time introducing myself to parts of the district that don't know me. I don't think I did that as well as I could have last time around.

UPDATE: Kimberly and PM Bryant add their thoughts.

UPDATE: Supreme Irony adds his thoughts.

UPDATE: As does Byron.

UPDATE: And Nate.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 11, 2005 to Election 2006 | TrackBack

Nice to read Lampson's common-sense answers in your Q&A.

Now, we have an opportunity to present a untied front against DeLay, the most corrupt politician in America.

That means Gordon Quan should step aside, too. He has a bright future in Texas politics. But he will hurt that future if he continues to let his political consultant steer him toward this race.

Posted by: Zangwell Arrow on May 11, 2005 8:11 AM

I agree with Arrow. Katherine McNeal is known for using candidates as meal tickets. Gordon Quan should cut her loose and preserve his future options.

Quan's record on the city council is way out of line with the mainstream values of CD 22. If he stays in the race, he will force Lampson to spend precious resources that should be focused on DeLay -- and Quan will still lose.

Posted by: Oh, Sarah! on May 11, 2005 10:57 AM

Thanks for providing this interview. I've written about it briefly, and about Kimberly's concerns, at B and B.

Posted by: P.M.Bryant on May 11, 2005 11:27 AM