April 06, 2006
Perry gets aboard the "No special election" bandwagon?

Peggy Fikac has the story:

Gov. Rick Perry said today he doesn't plan to call an emergency election to replace U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay when the former House majority leader resigns.

That means voters in Congressional District 22 won't get a chance to choose a replacement until the November general election - unless DeLay unexpectedly resigns by the end of this week.

DeLay would have to resign by week's end for a special election to be on the next uniform election date of May 13.

He has said he expects to leave office by mid-June.


Under Perry's plan, the November vote would determine both who serves out the remaining months of DeLay's current term, as well as the next term. The scenario could possibly leave DeLay's seat vacant for a time.

"Until I get a letter that says, 'Dear Governor, I resign, Tom Delay,' there's not an opening," Perry said. "If I don' t get it by close of business tomorrow, the election will be in November."

Perry spokeswoman Kathy Walt said that Perry later explained, "Unless someone can demonstrate why we should go to the expense of a special election, and that there is some pressing issue before Congress, or that Congress is even in session, he doesn't see going to that expense" of having an emergency election.

Unfortunately, this still leaves the matter confused. The Chron story is no clearer.

Gov. Rick Perry said today that he will not call an election to fill the congressional seat to be vacated by U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay before November if DeLay doesn't resign by Friday.

"The legal issue of when does that seat become vacant is when I get that (resignation) letter, and as far as I know I don't have a letter,'' Perry said.

"If I don't get it by close of business tomorrow, the election will be in November.''


A Nov. 7 election would mean voters in the 22nd District would vote twice on the same day for congressional candidates - once to complete what would have been the final two months of DeLay's term and once for the next term beginning in January.

Either there is one election in November, pitting Nick Lampson against the Chosen One plus Stockman and Smither, with the winner being sworn in on January 2, or there will be two elections in November, one for the unexpired term and one for the 2007-2008 term. The latter makes no sense whatsoever on any level. For one thing, Congress will have much more to do between now and November than it will between November and January. For another, who would want to be a two-month Congressman? Finally, can you imagine the voter confusion if there were two ballots for CD22, most likely with different candidates on each?

Well, okay, there is one reason for the November special election scenario, and that's the seniority advantage the winner would have - assuming he or she is the same as the winner of the general election; there's a can of worms for you - by virture of a pre-January swearing-in. Maybe doing this would discourage most of the non-Chosen One candidates from jumping in, so you could still have the mano a mano matchup with Lampson that you want. But if Perry is going to cite cost as a factor, then there's still the possibility of a runoff for the special election, which could conceivably be meaningless depending on who won the general and who placed in the top two in the special. So maybe we do get a doubleheader in November, I don't know. I just wish the news reports were clearer on Perry's intent and on what his obligations actually are.

I simply cannot imagine that happening. As far as I'm concerned, what this means is that there will be no special election. For better or worse - and from my perspective, there's good and bad to this - we're getting one election, in November, with the only difference being an understudy taking DeLay's place in the Republican slot.

And while we're contemplating all that, look at what Ankle Biting Pundits reports:

A reader – who also happens to be a high-level Republican operative in Washington, DC – called me this morning with a very interesting scoop.

Contrary to the story DeLay told reporters yesterday, the former House Majority Leader’s retirement announcement was planned well in advance – even in advance of the primary.

In fact, according to my source, DeLay deliberately waited until after the primary had run its course to drop out of the race for Congress. The reason being: so that party higher-ups could decide who the GOP nominee would be, not the Republican primary voters. You see, now that the GOP nominee slot will be vacant, Texas Republican honchos can handpick the new and improved nominee – in the proverbial smoky backroom, no doubt.

If my source’s information proves correct, my view of Rep. DeLay and the GOP establishment will be taken down a notch.

I believe that will make for a pretty good story line for Team Lampson to utilize. And once again I say the Republicans may have a problem getting their rank and file to line up behind this. If your preferred candidate isn't the Chosen One, why should you approve of this? Link via The Blogometer.

So Lampson had a press conference today in Sugar Land to echo his call for a May 13 special election, and things got ugly when some DeLay supporters showed up.

After about three minutes, the crowd began to grow. Lampson was suddenly surrounded by about 30 sign-waving protesters, some shouting and one blasting an air horn. Protesters flanked Lampson on either side and stood close behind him, shouting and chanting.

Lampson supporters jostled for position, making their own signs visible. Lampson continued with his press conference, but the noise was so loud reporters were forced to stand face to face with the Democratic candidate to hear.

"You ask Tom DeLay's people to do the right thing," Lampson said, pointing a thumb at protesters shouting behind his head, "and this is what their answer is. It's time the people of this district had a real congressman."


Tempers flared as Lampson supporters tried to quiet the protesters. Arguments broke out, some minor pushing and shoving ensued and at least one woman was grazed in the head by a sign wielded by a DeLay supporter.

Marsha Rovai, 70, of Richmond, said one of the protesters hit her and another man shoved a sign in her face. She said that when she pushed the sign away, the man pulled her hat down over her face.

(On Thursday afternoon, Lampson's campaign released a statement saying Rovai has asked the campaign to "help see if any of the television stations caught this incident on tape so she can consider filing an assault charge.")

The press conference broke up, but heated arguments gained in intensity.

Sugar Land Police officers were called to the scene, but did not intercede. Officers in five or six cruisers stayed at a distance and watched the exchange, which subsided after 15 or 20 minutes.

DeLay campaign manager Chris Homan acknowledged organizing the protesters.

"Nick is Nancy Pelosi's liberal lapdog from Beaumont, and he should get used to being confronted…for the next seven months," Homan said.

After DeLay resigns and the campaign office is shut down, Homan said, "I think what you're going to see is Republicans will rally behind a candidate and help get word out that Nick Lampson was one of the worst liberals the Texas delegation has ever seen."

Theresa Raia, a state Republican Party executive committee member and precinct chair from Sugar Land, carried a sign and protested at the Lampson press conference along with her husband, Sam.

"We just didn't like him coming in to Sugar Land," Raia said. "He surely should have known he was going to get some opposition."

Opposition is fine. Protest is fine. Waving signs is fine. Pushing people is not fine. Blasting an air horn so as to drown out what someone else is saying is not fine. The word for that is thuggery, and it should be an affront to anyone who values freedom of speech. DeLay supporters might want to read some of the comments at the end of that story. At least one person so far has said he's switched his vote to Lampson because of this.

Juanita has some pictures from the press conference. Here's a KHOU link for this. There's supposed to be video, but I didn't see it at first glance. Thanks to Stace for the pointer.

On a side note, while DeLay may not be running for office, I expect candidates everywhere to continue to run against him for as long as he's in the news in some fashion. As an example, click the More link to see a statement from HD32 candidate Juan Garcia.

State representative candidate Juan Garcia today called on his opponent to give nearly $50,000 he took from Tom DeLay and others linked to the ongoing corruption scandals surrounding the disgraced congressman to a local children's health clinic.

"This campaign should be about our community's future, not my opponent's past," Garcia said. "I encourage him to put this behind him so that we can spend the rest of this campaign talking about how to fix our public schools, keep our kids healthy, and make our neighborhoods stronger."

Incumbent Gene Seaman reported accepting $48,710 in 2002 from two discredited political action committees founded by DeLay, Texans for a Republican Majority (TRMPAC) and its parent organization, Americans for a Republican Majority (ARMPAC), as well as from the Texas Association of Business (TAB). TRMPAC and TAB have since been indicted as part of a continuing criminal grand jury investigation in Travis County.

DeLay announced this week that he will resign his office as the biggest political corruption scandal in a generation continues to embroil the leadership in Washington, D.C. and Austin.

Garcia said his opponent's 2003 vote to strip more than half-a-million eligible children of their health insurance is a real world example of how such corruption in political campaigns can have a devastating impact on people's lives.

"These kids not only lost the health benefits they deserved, but local taxpayers were forced to pick up the tab in higher emergency room costs," Garcia said.

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) has estimated that Texas forfeited more than $600 million in available federal revenue for the Children Health Insurance Program by eliminating coverage for the eligible children.

Garcia is a practicing lawyer, an instructor pilot in the U.S. Naval Reserve, and chaired Citizens for Educational Excellence. He also serves on the board of governors for Leadership Corpus Christi, the Corpus Christi Barrios Association, and is a certified legal volunteer at the Corpus Christi Women's Shelter.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 06, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack

Channel 13 suggested that it would, in fact, be two elections, with one being a 2 month term. The expert who was interviewed even brought up the insane possibility of a runoff in December if no one received a majority.

Posted by: RedScare on April 6, 2006 8:27 PM

This is the most stupid protest of all time. Who in Texas cares what a Democrat says any more? Nobody would have heard what Lampson was gonna say anyway but it becomes news when a bunch of DeLay goons show up to "wreck" the press conference. And what are they protesting--their guy quit??!

Nothing like trying to stop somebody's message by getting people to pay more attention to it. Baffling.

Posted by: Steph on April 6, 2006 11:02 PM