I don't know what will happen in CD22 now, but I will say this: Tom DeLay sure doesn't sound like he wants to run again.
If the Republicans lose on appeal, DeLay will have to decide whether to campaign for an office from which he already has resigned.
DeLay, dressed in shorts and a baseball cap, answered the door at his Sugar Land house this afternoon, but declined to talk with a Chronicle reporter.
"I don't do this (interviews). Not at my house," he said as he closed the door. "Goodbye."
Earlier in the day, his daughter, Dani DeLay Ferro, issued a statement on his behalf.
"Tom DeLay looks forward to the correct decision being rendered by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. As a resident of Virginia, he cannot lawfully be on the ballot in November. It is unfortunate that the voters of the 22nd District of Texas are the ones who bear the brunt of Judge Sparks' ill-advised decision, but it is highly likely that it will be overturned and the voters will have a Texas 22 Republican on the ballot who will defeat Nick Lampson," she said.
Which leaves one more possibility - a write-in candidacy. Can't say it's a good option - frankly, given the effort it would take to educate people how to vote for a write-in, I'd be surprised if such a candidate could get as much as 20% of the vote - but at least you can be sure he or she is a real Republican. The deadline for getting a write-in sanctioned is ten weeks before Election Day:
§ 146.025. FILING PERIOD. (a) A declaration of write-in candidacy must be filed not later than 5 p.m. of the 70th day before general election day, except as otherwise provided by this code. A declaration may not be filed earlier than the 30th day before the date of the regular filing deadline.
Okay, there is one more scenario to consider. Paul Burka raises an interesting question:
What happens if, when the parties to the redistricting suit submit their maps to the three-judge panel next Friday, Attorney General Greg Abbott changes the boundaries of Tom DeLay's district? Would that force the panel to order new elections in the Twenty-Second, thereby rendering Judge Sparks's decision inoperative and allowing the Republican party to replace him on the ballot after all?
"I think it's a sad day for the voters of the 22nd district of Texas," said Gary Gillen, the chairman of the Republican Party of Fort Bend County, which is one of the four counties in that district. "I think [the ruling] denies the voters the opportunity to select the candidate they want to vote for."
"It's just not fair for Republicans," Gillen said. "All the time we're working through this process, [the Democrats] are out campaigning."
Something I want to point out from the Sparks decision, from page 14: He says the court must consider "whether the plaintiff will be irreparably harmed if the injunction does not issue" as part of its ruling. As he later says that the plaintiff (i.e., the Texas Democratic Party) did demonstrate an "irreparable injury", I have to wonder what that actually is. I presume this comes down to the question of fundraising and turnout, and since I criticized the Dems for bringing those things up, I feel I should acknowledge the role I believe they must have played in the outcome.
Some more reactions, from the Public Campaign Action Fund, and from the Texas Democratic Party:
This is not partisan victory, but a victory for the rule of law. This case was about protecting the electoral process and preserving the U.S. Constitution, and we are extremely pleased with Judge Sparks’s ruling.
Today’s ruling confirmed what we have believed all along - that this attempt by the Republican Party to replace Tom DeLay on the ballot is at best a manipulation of election law and most importantly, a sham attempt to circumvent the primary process and ignore voters in the 22nd Congressional District. We felt it was important for somebody to stand up and fight against the Republican scheme to hand-pick the candidate of their choice and subvert the most fundamental aspect of popular democracy - the right of voters to pick their representatives.
Finally, CapInside reports on another race in which the Republicans might be looking to swap out one candidate for another. This one's a State House seat, so Judge Sparks' ruling would not be relevant. Click the More link to read the relevant bits.
I'll have more of today's news links later. I drafted this last night, because this is going to be a time-consuming story, and I knew if I'd waited till today I'd never get to everything.
Democrats in the Austin area contend that there's a move afoot among local Republicans to remove high-tech executive Ben Bentzin from the general election ballot in favor of a candidate who might have a better chance of unseating Democratic State Rep. Donna Howard in House District 48. Howard surprised partisans on both sides of the aisle when she came close to knocking out Bentzin with 49.5 percent of the first round vote in a special election in January before reclaiming the seat for Democrats with 58 percent support in a February runoff. Bentzin, a wealthy former Dell Computer executive who'd been a big supporter of the arts, had been a heavy favorite initially as the candidate backed by GOP power brokers with Governor Rick Perry's endorsement and active support.Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 07, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack
Despite the disappointing finish in the special election, Bentzin was given a second shot at Howard in the general election after running unopposed in the Republican primary. Since the special election, however, there have been few if any signs that Bentzin is actively campaigning for a fall rematch with Howard. The most recent postings on his web site, for example, are news clips that were published before the special election runoff vote almost five months ago.
Democrats initially speculated that the GOP would try to replace Bentzin in the HD 48 race with Gail King, who's worked in the banking industry and served on the Eanes School Board in the Westlake area of Austin for the past three years. More recently, however, the speculation about a possible replacement candidate in HD 48 has turned to Pamela Waggoner, a Leander school trustee and former PTA president who runs a family-owned insurance business. Democrats theorize that the GOP would prefer to have a general election challenger with experience as an educator to help neutralize Howard's background as a former Eanes School Board member herself.
If Republicans do try to replace Bentzin on the November ballot, the opinion that Sparks' issued in the DeLay case may not preclude them from doing so. Sparks ruled that Texas Republican Chairwoman Tina Benkiser did not have the authority to declare DeLay ineligible to seek re-election in November based on the grounds that he moved to Virginia in April before resigning from Congress last month.
[Sparks'] opinion suggests that the argument that Benkiser and the state party have used to support the decision to declare DeLay ineligible would be more valid in a Texas Senate or House race to which a state constitutional one-year residency requirement applies.