March 08, 2006
Primary results: Republican non-statewide

We know where to start with this one: CD22.

Still facing legal battles, U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay won a pivotal political fight Tuesday by defeating three challengers in the Republican primary for his Houston-area seat.

Opponent Tom Campbell, former general counsel for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, fell short of forcing the former House majority leader into a runoff.

DeLay won 62 percent of the vote in the 22nd Congressional District, which covers parts of Harris, Brazoria, Fort Bend and Galveston counties, according to the totals from 97 percent of precincts.

"I have always placed my faith in the voters, and today's vote shows they have placed their full faith in me," DeLay said in a written victory statement. "This race was about who can effectively represent the values and the priorities of the people in this district, and I'm proud to have earned, and overwhelmingly kept, that trust among Republican voters."

"Not only did they reject the politics of personal destruction, but they strongly rejected the candidates who used those Democrat tactics as their platform," he added.

DeLayVsWorld has the full text of DeLay's statement. I have Nick Lampson's which is beneath the fold.

DeLay's totals show that "nearly 40 percent of an ideologically committed (Republican) vote has decided to bail on him," said Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson. "He still has a hell of a fight in the general election."

Lampson is already courting that 40%, as you can see from his statement below. Chuck Todd thinks DeLay has Carole Strayhorn to thank for the low turnout in that race.

Elsewhere, the next biggest stories are in the State House, where key Tom Craddick lieutenant Kent Grusendorf was ousted by ParentPAC-backed Diane Patrick.

Patrick captured about 57 percent of the vote Tuesday to Grusendorf's 43 percent in complete unofficial returns.

"We're off to a great start and so are the people of Arlington," Patrick said, surrounded by supporters at J. Gilligan's on Abram Street in central Arlington. Voters were "ready for a change," she said. Grusendorf, 66, has held the District 94 seat since 1987. Patrick, 60, is a former Arlington school board president and a former member of the state Board of Education. She was the first significant challenger Grusendorf had in many years.

Patrick will face Democrat David Pillow in November.

Grusendorf spoke to supporters about 10:30 p.m. at the Hilton hotel on Lamar Boulevard, noting that the tally was incomplete and promising to make a final statement today.

He said strong turnout by voters who don't typically vote in the Republican primary may have helped Patrick and that more competition at the top of the ticket might have helped him.

"We need to get more of the hard-core Republicans out," he said.

Oh, poor baby. If that's true, whose fault is it?

Three other Republican incumbents are out, at least pending any recounts. Both were victims of the Leininger Five - Roy Blake, who lost to former Rep. Wayne Christian, and somewhat shockingly, Carter Casteel, who was ahead by 600 votes with only precincts in her home county of Comal to be counted. There are still mail-in ballots to be counted, and with the margin there at 45 votes, I'm expecting a recount. Regardless, Charlie at PinkDome is pissed about this one.

Also getting the boot is Elvira Reyna, the sole Hispanic Republican in the State House. Her opponent, Thomas Latham, was also ParentPAC-backed. The other three targets of Leininger - Tommy Merritt, Delwin Jones, and Charlie Geren, all survived, as did ParentPAC target David Swinford. One incumbent, Scott Campbell, is in a runoff and I think will likely lose.

Open seat races in HD47, HD118, and HD133 in Harris County are headed to runoffs, as is HD50 for the right to challenge Democrat Mark Strama. Also in Harris County, Patricia Harless held off the wingnut John Devine in HD126, while incumbent Joe Crabb won his challenge. Finally, in a race that had fewer votes than my cousin-in-law Jennifer had attendees at her wedding, former Democrat Dorothy Olmos "won" the right to challenge first-termer Ana Hernandez in HD143.

In the State Senate, the good news is that you won't be hearing Dan Patrick on the air anytime soon. The bad news that's because he crushed his three opponents in the SD7 primary. I doubt it, but perhaps he'll heed the advice of his predecessor when he gets to Austin. State Rep. Glenn Hegar appears headed for a promotion as he won the SD18 primary to replace outgoing Democrat Ken Armbrister.

Finally, in the race for the Least Important Office in Harris County, Treasurer Jack Cato defeated former Mayoral candidate Orlando Sanchez, which makes Stace do the Happy Dance. At this point, I say Sanchez gets tagged with the "perennial candidate" label if he ever bothers to run another race. And to think he was once a rising star.

UPDATE: I'm a little punchy this morning, so please forgive an oversight or two. Former TxDOT Commissioner Robert Nichols appears to be headed to the State Senate after garnering a majority in the SD03 primary to replace Todd Staples. There are still a few precincts out, but it looks good for him. Ron Paul easily won his primary challenge in CD14. And Kent Grusendorf's loss yesterday means he won't have to resign if school finance is still broken after the upcoming special election.


Welcome to my Texas uprising!

Tonight is the first big step toward a big change in November. The departure of Mr. DeLay has been delayed long enough.

Tonight, I called Pat Baig, Mike Fjetland, and Tom Campbell to congratulate them on their campaigns. It takes courage to put your name on the ballot against Tom DeLay in a Republican Primary and I wanted them to know they have my respect.

And I want their supporters tonight to know that I am here humbly asking for their votes. I am willing to earn these votes.

These candidates and their supporters recognized a need for change and had the courage to stand up to Tom DeLay. I hope they will join me as we fight our way to November.

Now, let me get to the heart of the matter. Right now in Washington, we're seeing scandal after scandal, the deficit's out of control, jobs are going overseas, and the special interests are running the show.

And you know who's at the center of all of it?

Tom DeLay.

Here's why I'm running for Congress.

First of all, I believe in a balanced budget. I believe you have to make choices and sacrifices. But choosing favors for lobbyists over results for Texas is not the kind of sacrifice I have in mind.

When I was in Congress, I voted to reduce the deficit, lower the national debt, and to set priorities like strengthening Social Security, homeland security, and our public schools.

Meanwhile, Tom DeLay was voting to increase the deficit, raise the debt ceiling, gut education, weaken port security, and privatize Social Security.

We had a clear difference of opinion then . and we still do now.

I believe in national security and homeland security. In particular, I'm not new to this whole issue of protecting our ports from terrorism.

When I was in Congress, I fought to pass legislation that would have increased funding for port security and increased the number of containers that are checked for biological and chemical weapons.

I voted yes. Tom DeLay voted no.

We had a clear difference of opinion then . and we still do now.

I believe in standing up for American jobs. It's time we had a representative who chooses Texas families over multi-national corporations.

We need to stop passing tax breaks for companies shipping jobs overseas. Instead, we should focus tax breaks on working families and small businesses like Cliff's Old Fashion Grill so we can create jobs and improve our economy.

On helping our working families and small businesses, I voted yes. Tom DeLay voted no.

We had a clear difference of opinion then . and we still do now.

And finally, I believe in telling the truth and accepting responsibility. But let's look at just the past few months in Washington .

The Jack Abramoff Lobbyist Scandal. The Hurricane Response Scandal. The Port Deal Scandal. And members of Congress either under indictment or being sent to prison.

It's time to send a message to Washington -- you couldn't clean up your act, so we're gonna to do it for you.

Here's what you will never hear about Nick Lampson when I'm in Congress.

You'll never hear that I sold out my fellow Texans to a Washington lobbyist.

You'll never hear that I used the IRS or the Department of Homeland Security to get revenge on people who disagreed with me.

And you'll never hear that I took money from a charity and used it for politics.

Tom DeLay gets headlines for all the wrong reasons. Well, I'm looking forward to that headline on November 8th . No Further DeLay.

When it comes to standing up for Texas families, I say this . No more delays.

Balancing the budget and returning to fiscal responsibility? No more delays.

Creating American jobs? No more delays.

Securing our ports? No more delays.

Cleaning up Washington? No more delays.

Strengthening Social Security? No more delays.

Fixing the Medicare drug benefit? No more delays.

And finishing the job in Iraq with honor and so we can bring our troops home? No more delays.

I'm honored to be your nominee . and no matter what Tom DeLay says in the weeks and months ahead, just know this .

I've got thick skin and hard hands. I'm as independent as Texas and as strong-willed as the Gulf Coast.

I'll work my hardest and I'll never let you down.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the Lone Star State.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 08, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack

I was hopeful DeLay could've been forced into a runoff, but realistically I'd have been happy if he'd been held to less than 60%. So I find his 62% figure a bit disappointing: even after all the scandals and with several alternatives, five of eight Republicans still stuck with DeLay.

I'm still hopeful, but at this point, it looks like it'll take either another indictment (possibly related to Abramoff) or a conviction in the money-laundering case to finish him off. Fortunately, the odds of at least one of those things happening still look good.

Posted by: Mathwiz on March 8, 2006 10:11 AM

The Republicans running here (HD133/SD7) seemed to all be clones of each other. By reading their goals and their agenda, you'd have NO idea which is which.

"Which candidate are you going to vote for, Frick?"

"Well, Frack, I'm going for the one who wants to cut property taxes, secure the borders and cap administrative spending in the schools!"

It's like watching a game between the University of Houston and Brigham Young, and predicting that the Cougars win.

Posted by: Tim on March 8, 2006 10:34 AM