I don't know how rumors like this get started, but for some reason Roll Call has seen fit to write an article speculating on who might run for Congress in CD22 if Tom DeLay were to retire.
Texas Republicans say there is absolutely no reason to hold onto this list, but just in case: Look for several GOP officials to run for Congress in the 22nd district if indicted Rep. Tom DeLay (R) chooses not to seek re-election.
Receiving immediate mention from the chairman of the Fort Bend County Republican Party: Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace; state Sen. Kyle Janek; and state Rep. Charlie Howard. Others also would likely jump into the race, said Eric Thode, who heads the GOP in DeLay’s home county, though he emphasized that the chances of the race opening up are "near zero."
That prospect "is a hypothetical, wrapped in an improbable, wrapped in a nonstarter," added DeLay spokesman Kevin Madden. "Mr. DeLay is running for re-election. He is experiencing incredible grass-roots support, as well as incredible support on the fundraising side."
That would be about all I'd have to say about this story, except that it contains some very questionable assertions that I just can't let go. So let's have a look at them:
DeLay campaign spokeswoman Shannon Flaherty said Tuesday the Congressman has collected around 1,000 voter signatures, twice as many as is needed to file to run for Congress in Texas if a candidate wants to forgo the $3,125 filing fee.
The filing period began Saturday and runs through Jan. 2. Flaherty indicated DeLay will file to run for re-election just as soon as the signatures on the petition have been verified. DeLay is choosing to file for re-election using voter signatures to underscore the level of support he has in the district.
Thode, chairman of the Fort Bend County Republican Party, took issue with the [recent poll that showed DeLay trailing a "generic Democrat"] because it suggests more support for Democrats generally than he believes is plausible based on the demographics of the 22nd district.
In assessing DeLay’s vulnerability, too much is made of the fact that DeLay won re-election last year with just 55 percent of the vote, Thode said. Though that was the Congressman’s smallest margin of victory since he was elected in 1984, it was his first election in the newly drawn 22nd district.
Prior to 2003, Thode explained, Texas districts - drawn by Democrats - had packed as many Republicans into certain districts as possible to minimize the number of GOP seats. As such, he said, it is only natural that the victory margins for Republican Congressmen decreased following a redistricting that added five GOP districts to Texas' map.
President Bush outperformed DeLay in the district in last year’s presidential race by 9 points. But Thode said using that comparison to size up DeLay’s prospects is unfair, as Bush did better than most Republicans last year with blacks, women, Hispanics, Jews and other swing or Democratic-leaning voting blocs.
Candidate Vote Total Vote Pct
Bush 177,378 64.37%
Carillo 159,309 62.04%
Brister 165,392 63.16%
Keasler 160,876 61.64%
DeLay 150,377 57.31%
"The district is solidly Republican," Thode said. "There has been no decrease in the Republican-leaning vote. Therefore, a poll that says a Democrat is preferred over a Republican 49 percent to 36 percent is suspect at face value."
"When you're drawing the lines, you have to set the example," DeLay explained late last week as he traveled his district during the Presidents' Day recess. "If you're going to maximize the number of Republicans that are elected, everybody can't have an 80 percent district. If you're the guy that's sort of leading the effort, you can't tell your members, 'Well, I'm going to dilute yours, but I'm going to pack mine.' "
"In doing all that, we tried to be as fair to everybody as possible," he added. "And I had to take my hit, too."
Anyway. To get back to the original point, no way in hell does DeLay step down now. Maybe some day, if he doesn't get convicted or voted out first, but not today.Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 07, 2005 to Election 2006 | TrackBack