November 08, 2006
Shelley goes to Washington

Despite rumors to the contrary, Shelley Sekula Gibbs will indeed go off to Washington to spend Christmas break as a Congresswoman thanks to her special election victory.

"I made a commitment to the voters of District 22," she said at the start of today's regular council meeting. "It would be really wrong of me to say I don't want that vote and that responsibility."

Sekula-Gibbs, a Republican, beat out four other candidates in the special election to serve the remaining two months in U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay's term.

She lost the general election to Democrat Nick Lampson, however, for a full two-year term as the District 22 representative. He will replace her in January.

She called Lampson this morning to congratulate him.

"It is a short job and people know that," Sekula-Gibbs said of her upcoming job.

She added that she still believes she can accomplish some improvements such as lowering taxes during that time.

As for another bid for the District 22 post, Sekula-Gibbs said she is focused on the current job.

"Certainly, 2008 is around the corner," she said. "I am not going to be campaigning at this juncture."

The write-in candidate, who received almost 61,000 votes in final, unofficial totals, thanked voters for learning how to spell her name.

Sekula-Gibbs said she will fly to Washington, D.C., tonight. She said she doesn't know when the special election results will be certified or when she'll step down from her council seat, but added, "I hope soon."

Since Sekula-Gibbs, an at-large council member, has another year left in her council term, the city could hold a special election to replace her.

First of all, congratulations on the win. I doubt there'll be anything to accomplish beyond picking an office decor, since Congress doesn't normally do all that much at this time of year, and this Congress has even less incentive to try than others might, but knock yourself out.

There's already plenty of speculation about who will run to replace Shelley on City Council. I've heard that MJ Khan is not a candidate, and my educated guess is that Jay Aiyer is also not a candidate. Everybody else in that earlier piece and probably a few more are (as far as I know) still in the hunt. Once Shelley officially steps down and a special election is called for May, at which time the hopefuls can start raising money, we'll know who's a player and who's a pretender.

Shelley got 76,940 votes in the special, compared to 61,949 in the general. Her total barely exceeded Nick Lampson's 76,782 in the general. How many people deliberately voted only once for Shelley, and how many simply forgot to write her in afterwards is a question I can't answer. I'll say this: I at least would have voted for her in the special were I a CD22 resident, for the express purpose of getting her to resign from Council. I'll leave it up to you to decide how many others like me there are.

Will being able to call herself Congresswoman Sekula Gibbs give her an edge in 2008? I can only presume she thinks so, given the choices she's made. The next question is who is already planning to run against her in the GOP primary.

Finally, I'm sure some people believe Nick Lampson will be a one-term Congressman in CD22. Maybe that's true, but I'll tell you what: I thought for a long time after 2004 that Chet Edwards would not be able to duplicate his feat of winning in his DeLay-drawn district. He got 58% this time around. 2008 is a long time off, that's all I'm saying.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 08, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack

Learing how to spell her name? It was posted in every booth in my polling place and I am in another district.

Posted by: John on November 8, 2006 3:37 PM

Oh, please God, let it be Kahn. Foist the worthless excuse of a politician off on the entire city - why should District F have the exclusive pleasure.

I live in a two-fer: Al Green and Kahn. I almost wish I lived in Culbertson's district so I would have someone to be passionate about....

Posted by: Charles M on November 8, 2006 4:39 PM

I wonder if Dr. Sekula-Gibbs will follow the example of prominent Republican cardiac surgeon, Dr. William Frist?

He treats the gorillas at the National Zoo in his spare time. Maybe she can treat those pesky scabs they are picking at all of the time. That may be the most useful thing she accomplishes during her tenure as a member of Congress.

Posted by: Dennis on November 9, 2006 4:12 AM

I dont' know how much parallel you can make between Nick Lampson and Chet Edwards. I don't really know Lampson that well, nor do I know that district very well, but living in the 17th I have come to understand how Edwards gets it done.

First of all, no one does the local boy schtick better than Edwards. He's an Aggie and this is Aggieland. And he's an active Baptist and this is also Baptist-land. Baylor is the largest Baptist university in the world.

Edwards has focused with laser intensity on three major areas. First is his support for the military and veterans. The Waco VA hospital is a MAJOR local employer and under threat by this administration. Fort Hood and Kileen used to be in the district also but DeLay's redistricting basically traded Fort Hood for Burleson in a backfired attempt to create a seat for Arlene Wohlgemuth.

Second, this is a ag area and Edwards has spent a LOT of time with farmers and ranchers working on their issues. Much more so than any of his recent challengers.

Finally, Edwards plays the pork game very well. He has brought a whole lot of money to the district.

My impressons of the 22nd is that it is much more of a fast-growing suburban and exurban area where there are predictably lots of republicans, but without the deep multi-generational roots that characterize much of the 17th. So it seems to me that the 22nds less rooted voters are more likely to be blindly Republican and less likely to be swayed by local boy considerations. I was visiting friends in Katy last month and damned if the entire area didn't look totally brand new. While Waco is growing also, it's nothing like the Houston suburbs. People are much more rooted.

Not saying that Lampson can't continue to hold the seat. Only saying that he'll have to find a different formula than Edwards I think.

Posted by: Kent from Waco on November 9, 2006 9:28 AM