I keep thinking that it's not possible for the November elections to get any screwier. I keep getting proven wrong.
Gov. Rick Perry today officially set the special election to fill the unexpired term of U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay to coincide with the general election on Nov. 7.
Candidates wishing to run in the special election must file by 5 p.m. Sept. 1 with the Texas Secretary of State to appear on the ballot.
Shortly after DeLay announced in April that he was resigning from Congress, Perry said he would not schedule a special election to fill the vacancy before the general election. Today, he issued the official order setting the date.
The winner of the special election will serve DeLay's district in Congress from the day the election results are certified until a new Congress begins in January.
At that point, the winner of the general election will take over as the representative of Congressional District 22.
"Because there were a lot of maneuverings in the court on the Delay question on what could happen with that election, that had to play out then we reviewed all the legal requirements and options," said Perry spokeswoman Kathy Walt.
Of course, what wasn't settled on August 7 was the official GOP strategy for trying to play the rotten hand they'd been dealt, though that was the case by August 17. What has Rick Perry been doing since then (besides this, whatever that is)?
How will this play out? I have no idea. I've expressed the thought that it's good for Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, while both Chris Elam and Greg think it's bad for her. One of us is wrong, but it's probably a coin toss as to whom. It does keep this race in the news, at least for a little while longer.
And if all this isn't more fun than you can stand, take a close look at the official ballot (PDF) for CD22 as currently posted on the Secretary of State website. Here it is, on page 4:
U.S.Representative District 22 (M )
Nick Lampson DEM
Bob Smither LIB
Don Richardson W-I
One last thing:
Perry also set Nov. 7 special elections to fill the unexpired terms of state Rep. Vilma Luna, D-Corpus Christi, and Sen. Frank Madla, D-San Antonio. The winners of those elections will serve until a new Legislature is convened in January.