A survey of Republican voters in Fort Bend County showed Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace as the favorite to replace U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay on the November ballot.
Wallace received 640 votes while state Rep. Charlie Howard got 292. Tom Campbell, an attorney who ran unsuccessfully against DeLay in the March primary, got 216 votes.
"I do not see it as being a scientific survey," Campbell said. "I'm not sure exactly what it does except to show some indication of people's preferences."
Howard said survey respondents could have been influenced because the survey was mailed at about the same time Wallace sent out an announcement to voters that he was running for the post.
"And, there was no deadline on when the survey had to be in. I have had people call me as late as yesterday saying, 'Hey, I'm filling this out and I am going to put your name down and want to make sure you still want the job,' " Howard said.
The survey was mailed last month to Republican primary-voting households in Fort Bend County. The results were tabulated at the party's executive committee meeting last week.
The survey generated 1,325 responses for 29 different candidates, said Fort Bend County Republican Party Chairman Gary Gillen.
"It listed all the folks who were actively being talked about or had suggested that they might be interested in serving in that position," Gillen said
Former party Chairman Eric Thode sent the survey last month to about 18,000 addresses.
The process for filling the opening starts when Republican Party precinct chairmen from the four counties of the 22nd District each select an elector. The four electors will then vote for a candidate for the November general election.
Some GOP members said it was a waste of money to have the local party send out a survey. Gillen said the survey cost the party about $6,500.
He said the real opposition to the survey came from party members who did not want to see their particular candidate poll poorly.
"The most important thing that comes out this process, in my opinion, for the Republican Party is that the nominee we select be electable," he said. "And I think this gives the precinct chairs who will be making these decisions a little bit more information than they had before."