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.
Yes, the longest standing vacant Congressional seat in Texas history (PDF) will finally get filled. Why did it take so damn long for Perry to get off his gubernatorial keester and finally set a date for this sucker? Kathy Walt explains it all to us.
“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.
Mmm hmmm. Remember, kids, DeLay announced his resignation on April 3. He officially stepped down on June 7, a day before the Dems got the initial temporary restraining order that ultimately prevented the ballot replacement process from going forward. In between, as Greg in TX-22 noted, Perry went from deciding there should be an emergency special election to deciding that there shouldn’t be one. That took place long before there was a lawsuit. Even if you believe that Perry feared there would be litigation that would leave the status of the ballot uncertain for months, it’s also the case that the Supreme Court settled matters on August 7. So once again the question is “What took him so long?”
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
I’m sure there will be one more candidate by September 6. But will there be one less as well? I still don’t think it matters that much in the grand scheme of things, but it might give the RNC/NRCC a face-saving way to punk out on that $3 million promise it made to Sekula-Gibbs, since she wouldn’t be the only write-in candidate. Link via Fort Bend Now and South Texas Chisme.
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.
Madla resigned effective May 31, which is even earlier than DeLay, while Luna quit more recently. I can’t think of any purpose a November special election to fill their empty seats for those two months could serve.