April 04, 2006
Afternoon update on DeLay

The prospect of losing is what drove DeLay to the bench, says he.

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.

DeLay said in an interview with Sam Malone on KTRH-AM (740) that he "should have done better" than his 62 percent showing against four challengers in the March 7 primary.

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."

I wouldn't be quite that confident. Yes, the district is 60%+ Republican, so yes, the Republican who replaces DeLay will be the default favorite. But let's not forget a few things: One, Nick Lampson will start out with a huge advantage in fundraising - and don't expect for a minute that the national and netroots Dems are going to abandon him now; if anything, I expect them to smell blood - and in name recognition. He's been campaigning for months and has had a team in place for that long, too. Two, whoever the smoke-filled room types pick to be the Chosen One will not be everybody's choice. It's one thing to fight it out in a democratic process and lose, and another altogether to be bypassed by a committee that isn't answerable to anyone. Who's to say that the runnersup in this contest won't decide that they've nothing to lose by sitting it out instead of helping some unworthy lucky stiff get handed a seat? Surely they can take their shot at Congressman Lampson in 2008, right? I see no guarantee that the Republicans will come out of the naming ceremony as a united front, now that the capo who held together any potentially squabbling factions has gone down. (Feel free to make your own Sopranos joke here.)

And finally, it seems safe to assume that whoever will be carrying DeLay's torch in November will have some tight connections to him, since surely he'll have a say in who gets picked. David Wallace, for example (link via The Red State). DeLay may not be on the ballot, but I gurantee he'll be in the race, one way or another.

Notes from the Responsibility Era:

Rich Christoffersen said customers were stunned by the announcement, with several saying the congressman's legal woes played a role in the resignation.

Christoffersen said current events and politics are frequent subjects discussed by morning customers who are generally supportive of DeLay.

"I think most folks are pretty sorry to see him go, with a few exceptions," Christoffersen said.

"I am very disappointed to see him go. I think he was on the last true conservatives that were out there," he said.

Customer Abraham Joseph said he was surprised by the sudden nature of DeLay's resignation.

"I think he just buckled under pressure from the left, he didn't want to put up with all their whatever, so the best thing to do was just to back out," Joseph said.

Another customer, Charles Lojo, said DeLay has been a strong leader and wondered why the congressman would step down after winning a hard fought primary.

"It is really a shocker. Only he knows why and hopefully they are good reasons," Lojo said.

Funny how his two-going-on-three felonious ex-staffers don't seem to factor into these equations, isn't it? No, it's all just politics and liberal hatred. All I can say is thank God DeLay isn't a member of Houston's City Council. He might be in real trouble if he were.

More on Texas electoral law from Rick Hasen. Is it just me, or is anyone else beginning to get the feeling that this question is ultimately going to be decided in a courtroom?

Ken Fair emails to answer my earlier question about whether someone like Harris County Judge Bob Eckels could run in a special election for CD22 without having to give up his current office and thus create yet more vacancies:

(a) A candidate may not file applications for a place on the ballot for two or more offices that:
(1) are not permitted by law to be held by the same person; and
(2) are to be voted on at one or more elections held on the same day.
(b) If a person files more than one application for a place on a ballot in violation of this section, each application filed subsequent to the first one filed is invalid.
(c) This section does not apply to candidacy for the office of president or vice-president of the United States and another office.

Subsection (c) there is the so-called LBJ Rule, which also benefitted Lloyd Bentsen in 1988 when he was Mike Dukakis' running mate.

More linkage:

Pete goes MC Hammer on us.

Misty watercolored memories from Atrios.

Eye on Williamson has a reality check, and notes that one of Tom DeLay's bestest buddies is casting him as a poor, powerless victim of forces beyond his control. Pass the Kleenex!

Houtopia sings along.

The Stakeholder does a little de-spinning, while Greg compares and contrasts.

MyDD rounds up a bunch of stuff.

Jack and stina do their happy dances. Speaking of which, this comment at stina's place is my pick for Comment Of The Day:

It is entirely possible that a jig was danced at approximately 4 a.m. in the moo household.

And if you ain't seen a ginormously pregnant girly dance a jig, you ain't lived, baybee.

The things I miss by being asleep at 4 AM.

Anna has another Texas roundup, while PinkDome brings the Photoshop funnies and In the Pink feels sorry for the people of Virginia. She also gets on the Kyle Janek bandwagon while there's still room.

Finally, Juanita has the picture of the day. I'm still grinning.

There's more, but this post is way too long already. And we're not even 24 hours into post-DeLay America yet.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 04, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack

Kuff, I agree with you on the Lampson funding. I do not expect it to dry up as others see it such as Evan at DeLay vs the World.

Posted by: fred on April 4, 2006 10:10 PM