April 22, 2006
A new twist in the DeLay resignation saga

The Friday Chron story on the latest entrants and non-entrants into the CD22 mix includes this update on how the selection process is going.

Fort Bend County GOP Chairman Eric Thode wants to poll Republican voters to see if there's a consensus on who should carry the GOP standard, since the nominee won't be decided by popular vote.


Thode said he plans to send out a sample ballot next week to anyone in Fort Bend County who has voted in the last three Republican primaries. It will contain the names of the most frequently mentioned contenders for the nomination, and request anonymous responses that Thode hopes will gauge which prospective candidate has the most support.

"Anything we can do to open it up to more participation, to get a better feel for what the actual Republican electorate would like to see, is hugely beneficial," he said.

Harris County Republican Party Chair Jerry Woodfill said he thinks precinct chairs are capable of picking a nominee without the help of a survey.

"These folks are so involved. They clearly have the pulse of their precincts," Woodfill said. "If anyone is in touch with the electorate, it's the precinct chairs, because they are in touch with the party. They are going to choose the individual who shares their values on the issues. In this case, it will be the most conservative individual."

Chris Elam has the email describing the survey, the timing of which he calls "more than a bit strange" (I'll get to why in a moment), and a suggestion for how this should be done, if at all. Note the comment threads, by the way. I believe we can count this as evidence of my hypothesized Republican unity problem.

What makes all of this weirder, and serves as the reason why Elam questioned the timing of this mailing, is that not only has DeLay not actually resigned, or announced a date for his resignation, but that he may not resign at all.

Noting there are "many moving parts" to the replacement procedure, outgoing county GOP Chairman Eric Thode emphasized that no portion of the procedure has been put in place yet. "There is neither a resignation nor a withdrawal from the ballot."


"Just announcing your intention to do these things doesn't necessarily mean that you will," Thode said.

Also, Thode said the theory has been put forth that, if DeLay becomes ineligible to run on the ballot because he moves to Virginia, he might not have to resign from Congress. Instead, DeLay could theoretically serve out the remainder of his term, ending the need for a special election.

Got that? We should all know better by now than to think that DeLay ever means what he says. And note that it's the same Eric Thode pointing out that nothing official has gotten underway yet because of DeLay's continued occupation of the seat.

And just to throw one more curveball at you, DeLay himself has a suggestion for how to handle the replacemant process: A special election. No, really.

Machinations aside, I'm more than happy to see DeLay stay in Congress through the end of the term. As long as he's there, he'll continue to serve as the best symbol of what's wrong with that institution and why it needs a change. No rush, Tom! Take your time!

Political theaterwise, this has been pretty entertaining, hasn't it? And who knows how many more acts to the story there may be. Links and further commentary via Greg in TX22 and the Muse of Sugar Land.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 22, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack

You make a good point. Keep Tommy Boy in office until the end of his term and he will become the poster boy for all that is bad in Washington. Hopefully, it will help the Democrats retake Congress.

Posted by: PoliticalCritic on April 23, 2006 2:50 PM