Nice to see everyone getting along so well in CD22.
The three Republicans who unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) in a recent primary either are saying they will not endorse him in the general election or are waiting to make up their minds.
Some political observers believe the lack of unity among Texas Republicans could hamper DeLayâ€™s effort to retain his seat and question DeLayâ€™s decision to lambaste his primary opponents soon after beating them earlier this month.
Michael Fjetland, one of the Republicans to challenge DeLay in the March 7 primary, said flatly: “I cannot endorse any felon.” DeLay is not a felon, but he has been indicted by Democratic Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle and had extensive ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Fjetland, an attorney, added that he was “bothered” by DeLayâ€™s remarks after his primary win. “None of us attacked him individually, only on the issues affecting people in the district,” he said.
Shortly after winning, DeLay issued a statement in which he accused his Republican challengers of taking their cue from Democrats.
“So what did the Republican primary last night show?” the statement said. “The candidates running against Tom DeLay all mimicked Democrat attacks and Democrat talking points. The voters of this district soundly rejected their campaigns, and sent a message that Tom DeLayâ€™s dedication and faithful service to the issues and values of this district are what matters most.”
Tom Campbell, the environmental attorney who came in second in the primary, said that DeLay has a “problem with his base” and that he has yet to decide whether he will endorse DeLay.
“I think Mr. DeLay is engaging in a counterproductive but characteristic pattern of conduct. Heâ€™s attacking the messenger. â€¦ Ten thousand Republicans, many of which were conservative Republicans, voted against the incumbent, and they voted for another conservative as an alternative. Mr. DeLay should think about that, rather than simply attacking me as being a liberal Democrat, which simply the facts donâ€™t support.”
Campbell added: “I am not part of any vast left-wing conspiracy.”
Pat Baig, who finished fourth in the GOP primary, stated, “I believe Tom DeLay embodies the malignancy that is destroying the integrity, credibility and historical cornerstones of the Republican Party. That is why I ran against him. I cannot vote for corruption; therefore, as in â€™04, he will not have my vote in â€™06.”
So how big a deal is this? In the previous GOP primary for CD22, Fjetland got about 5600 votes out of 28,000, or 20%. Some 12,502 people voted against DeLay this time around, out of 33,160 total votes cast. What Baig and Fjetland do won’t make any difference – anyone who voted for them has likely never supported DeLay in the past – but not having Campbell’s support could hurt. Campbell got almost 10,000 votes, which is more than Fjetland got in 2000 when the turnout was 50% higher. I think he’s right to say that this represents an erosion of DeLay’s base, which I will point out is a continuation of a trend from 2002 and 2004.
Chris LaCivita, a former head of the Virginia Republican Party who is now a political consultant, dismissed talk of DeLayâ€™s base being fractured, calling the primary a case of “sour grapes.”
“These guys just ran in a very contested primary and had their heads handed to them,” LaCivita said, noting that DeLay captured 62 percent of the vote in a four-way race. “Where I’m from, that-s called a good, old-fashioned ass whoopin’.”
LaCivita added that Republican voters ultimately would vote for the candidate who represents their values. He added that DeLay shouldn’t have too much trouble sewing up an additional 18 percent of the GOP vote, giving him an 80 percent advantage among Republicans and a strong core of support heading into November.
I have news for you, Mister Where-You’re-From-Is-Not-Here LaCivita: In 2004, an average of 165,739 votes were cast for Republicans in the four statewide races in CD22. DeLay got slightly over 90% of that average Republican vote in CD22. He got almost 85% of the Presidential vote, which is where he lagged the most behind. Had he gotten only 80% Republican support, he’d have finished with 132,591votes instead of the 150,386 he actually got. Put another way, he’d have gotten 48.6% of the overall vote had he gotten a mere 80% support from Republicans. If he gets only 80% Republican support this time around, we’ll have a new name for him: Private Citizen Tom DeLay. Now does that 62% he got in the primary get your attention?
Link via The Stakeholder.