January 13, 2006
Campbell and Lampson

The Statesman brings us a good story on Tom Campbell, the late entrant into the CD22 GOP primary.

DeLay was popular in his 22nd Congressional District, which covers the southwest suburbs of Houston, until his latest legal troubles. A recent CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll showed 53 percent of registered voters want someone other than DeLay to represent them.

Nevertheless, DeLay still enjoys institutional support in Fort Bend County, the Houston suburb that holds most of his district and includes his hometown of Sugar Land. The county Republican Party has adopted a resolution supporting DeLay and the chairman is in DeLay's camp.

"Tom Campbell at least has Republican credentials," Fort Bend County GOP chairman Eric Thode said. "Having said that, it doesn't translate into one iota of support or money. He is 100 percent absolutely unknown in this county."

Campbell's stump remarks gloss over specific issues, focusing instead on his promise to bring "honesty, civility and decency" back to Congress.

Campbell, 50, said after "having a hard time voting for Tom DeLay" in the 2004 election, he looked for someone to challenge DeLay in 2006, but found no GOP career politician willing to take him on. So Campbell, who's never held a political office, decided to run himself, figuring it was an act of Republican loyalty to challenge the party's troubled standard-bearer.

"If we don't clean house in March, we'll lose the House in November," Campbell said. "Sugar Land, Texas, is the epicenter of the national debate on how we conduct politics."

Campbell, a 12-year Sugar Land resident who has put his own money into the race, has less than $100,000 so far after announcing his candidacy in December, said campaign manager Mike Stanley, former general counsel to the Harris County GOP. DeLay had raised more than $1 million by the last reporting deadline in September.

DeLay also faces lawyer Mike Fjetland and retired teacher Pat Baig. The primary winner will face former U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson, a Beaumont Democrat who represented a district next to DeLay's for eight years until DeLay's redistricting plan put him in a new, less Democratic district. Lampson lost in 2004 to longtime Houston judge Ted Poe, a Republican.

While DeLay's campaign spokeswoman, Shannon Flaherty, has dismissed Fjetland and Baig with disparaging quips, she said DeLay welcomes Campbell to the race and to hearing his ideas.

"But he's going to have a tough time with local GOP support," Flaherty said. "He's got more than 30 years of catching up to do."

I'll leave all the he said/she said stuff to other analysts. I just want to focus on this sentence: "Nevertheless, DeLay still enjoys institutional support in Fort Bend County, the Houston suburb that holds most of his district and includes his hometown of Sugar Land."

First, Fort Bend County does not hold most of CD22. It barely holds a plurality, based on votes cast in the 2004 election:

County Votes cast Pct
Fort Bend 109,829 40.3
Harris 109,565 40.2
Brazoria 31,053 11.4
Galveston 22,173 8.1

Harris County is at least as important to CD22 as Fort Bend is. Maybe we could get a quote from someone there once in awhile.

As for DeLay's support in Fort Bend, I don't question the assertion that the FBGOP is in his corner. We'll see what the primary voters have to say - it sure would look bad if DeLay doesn't win going away after all this tough talk and all these pro-DeLay resolutions, wouldn't it? - but sure, the establishment there is still holding Tom's hand. Getting past the primary, however, DeLay didn't fare so well in his home county:

County Votes cast Pct
Harris 64,590 58.9
Brazoria 18,159 58.5
Fort Bend 58,444 53.2
Galveston 9,193 41.5

These percentages are for the four-person total - I've used percentages from the straight DeLay/Morrison matchup in the past, so don't be confused. The point here is simply that Harris County is more critical to DeLay in November than Fort Bend, because the Harris County portion of CD22 is more Republican than the Fort Bend piece is right now.

The Harris County portion of CD22 is also partly where Nick Lampson once served; he also represented part of the Galveston area. Which brings me to DeLayVsWorld and a couple of points I want to make. First, from DvsW:

It's worth pointing out: Lampson lost two years ago in a LESS Republican district as the incumbent, gaining only 43% to now-Congressman Ted Poe's 55%. Further, that district contained Jefferson County, which Lampson had represented for years as Congressman and county tax assessor.

According to the SOS redistricting data, which now includes results from 2004, the GOP index in the new CD02 was 60.9%, while it was 62.8% in CD22. For what it's worth, though, the indices in 2002 were 60.6 and 65.2, respectively, so CD22 seems to be trending blue while CD02 got a teensy bit redder.

And while it's true about CD02 containing Lampson's home turf of Jefferson County, there's a little context that needs to be added to that:

County Poe vote Poe Pct Lampson vote Lampson Pct
Harris 103,244 70.35 40,809 27.80
Jefferson 28,125 30.97 61,893 68.15
Liberty 8,582 59.25 5,454 37.65

A Libertarian candidate accounted for the rest of the vote. One of the whole points of the 2003 redistricting was to anchor Nick Lampson to highly hostile territory as far from the friendly confines of Beaumont as possible. As you can see, that was a success - the Harris County portion of CD02 was more than 50% bigger than all of Jefferson. For comparison, John Kerry won JeffCo by less than 3000 votes. Lampson held serve just fine. He couldn't overcome the home field advantage that Poe had.

So how did the 2002 version of Lampson compare with DeLay in 2004 in the precincts that overlap the two districts?


Candidate Office Votes Pct
Lampson CD09 12,467 49.9
Sharp Lt Gov 11,256 45.1
Kirk Senate 10,792 42.9
Watson Atty Gen 10,097 40.7
Sanchez Governor 10,099 40.3

Dem total - Lampson 42,244 42.3


Candidate Office Votes Pct
Bush Pres 25,810 57.5
Brister Sup Ct 23,581 55.0
Keasler CCA 22,883 53.6
Carillo RR Comm 22,397 53.3
DeLay CD22 21,813 50.6

GOP total - DeLay 94,671 54.9

We're back to two-candidate percentages here. Lampson did 7.6 points better than average, while DeLay did 4.3 points worse. Make of that what you will. I should note, though, that in the grand scheme of things, this is small potatoes. Only about 16% of the CD22 vote from 2004 was cast in these precincts. Lampson will need to win the battle here, but if he does it will be far from decisive. Can Lampson overcome DeLay's home field advantage? That's the question.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 13, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack

WHAT AN INSANELY EXCELLENT POST! This race has already seen more than its share of poorly researched speculation and obsolete conventional wisdom, and so it's a rare gift to find a logical breakdown of raw data.

There would be so much more to say, but alas, it's starting to seem like it's already over...Have you see the Chronicle poll?

Dig on this:

Now really, I need to know...Is it too early to say it's in the bag? Can I gloat? Or could stories like this hurt Lampson's ability to fundraise? And then in October, a sea of slick glossy mailers floods CD22, warning of gay marriages, tax hikes, and a vast left-wing conspiracy, complete with photoshoped picture of Nick Lampson giving Michael Moore a lapdance.

I elated, but it's like when Berkman hits a 2nd inning glad slam...I know there's plenty of time to blow it.

Posted by: Mark B on January 14, 2006 6:55 PM

Lampson held serve just fine. He couldn't overcome the home field advantage that Poe had.

"Home field advantage?" In tennis?? You're mixing your metaphors again ;-)

Posted by: Mathwiz on January 16, 2006 12:57 PM

The Houston Chronicle and the Austin American Statesman are both saying the Campbell has no name recognition. Well, maybe. I'd never heard of him til last weekend. But I noticed that on my street (in Friendswood, Galveston County) there was one Tom DeLay yardsign. And signs in 8 different yards for Campbell. It at least made me interested in finding out more about him.

Posted by: David Throop on February 13, 2006 9:35 AM