Lampson will not run in CD22 special election

When I said before that I was aware of a highly interesting rumor about the CD22 Very Special Election, this was what I was talking about.

Nick Lampson, the Democratic candidate for Congressional District 22, will not participate in a special election to fill resigned former congressman Tom DeLay’s unexpired term.

Campaign manager Mike Malaise said Thursday Lampson has decided to stay out of the special election because the voting process is becoming increasingly complicated as Nov. 7 approaches – and Lampson wants to simplify matters for his supports.

“We want to be able to say, vote once for Lampson and then you’re done,” Malaise said.

On Tuesday, Gov. Rick Perry ordered a special election be held to fill the remainder of DeLay’s term. The special election will be held on Nov. 7, concurrently with the general election. The winner of the special election would hold the office only until January, when the winner of the CD-22 race in the general election would take office.

At the end of the day Thursday, with one day left in which to register, Republican write-in candidate Don Richardson was the only person listed on the Texas Secretary of State’s web site as running in the special election.

However, sources said Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, the Houston City Councilwoman whose write-in campaign is being supported by many CD-22 precinct chairs and party officials, also registered for the special election today. So did a third candidate, who sources were unable to identify.

Sekula-Gibbs and Richardson couldn’t be reached Thursday evening.

“We just feel this thing has become a mess,” Malaise said of the election process. “We don’t want to add to that voter confusion.”


Malaise said Lampson believes Gov. Perry should have called a special election in May, so residents of the district would have had continuing representation in Congress. As it is, by the time the special election is held in November CD-22 will have been without a congressional representative for more than four months.

If Lampson were to run in the special election, Malaise said, he would increase odds that the race would be thrown into a runoff, since the winner of the special election must have a majority of votes, not a plurality.

A runoff might not take place until December, leaving the eventual winner with perhaps only three weeks to serve as a working member of Congress.

This makes all kinds of sense for Lampson. After five months of being left vacant, a November special election to fill this seat for the Christmas vacation is nothing but a gimmick and a political ploy to boost Shelley Sekula-Gibbs’ profile. A special election in May would have been meaningful. A special election as late as September, which would at least have had a chance to seat someone in time for the fall session of Congress, would have been meaningful. A special election in November, to keep Nick Lampson’s seat warm, is a joke.

And pending the identity of the third person or any other surprise entrants, that joke may wind up being on Shelley, who is likely to be the prohibitive favorite to win it and thus be forced to resign her City Council seat. Hey who knows, maybe the return to private life in January will give her enough time to mount a campaign for the special election to fill her Council seat. There’d be a certain poetry in that.

Bear in mind that the one purpose a special election (whether in May or November) can still fill is to give a leg up on seniority to whoever wins it, assuming that same person wins the regular election as well. Well, Lampson doesn’t need that head start on seniority like an ordinary rookie would. He’ll get eight years’ worth of it when he’s sworn in again. As such, on top of everything else, there’s no incentive for him to run in it. He doesn’t need to be sworn in before January to be ahead of his Class of ’06 mates. If it weren’t for the Constitutional requirement that Governor Perry is so grudgingly and belatedly fulfilling, there’d be no purpose at all to waiting this long before having the election.

Anyone want to guess how much sillier it gets from here? My imagination is starting to run dry.

UPDATE: Forgot to include Lampson’s press release. It’s beneath the fold.

Houston, TX — Nick Lampson, candidate for Texas’ 22nd Congressional District, released the following statement today in response to reports from the Texas Secretary of State’s office that three candidates had already filed for the special election in Congressional District 22 – none of whom were Nick Lampson. Should these multiple candidates become involved in a run-off election in December, the district will be holding an election for a term that could possibly no longer exist as Congress would be leaving session. And the people of this district would end this Congress with no representation.

“I have decided against running in the special election,” Lampson said. “This entire process has become a mess thanks to Tom DeLay’s attempts to manipulate the system. If the Governor and Tom DeLay had truly been concerned about the interest of Southeast Texans, we would have had this special election back in May. Now we are looking at four special election candidates if I were to run and possibly more by close of business tomorrow. That raises the possibility of run-off that would drag the process into December. Enough is enough. I am not going to put voters through that extra confusion. I am going to focus my attention on the general election and the next full term of Congress. Vote once for Lampson and you’re done.”

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8 Responses to Lampson will not run in CD22 special election

  1. Kevin Whited says:

    there’s no incentive for him to run in it.

    Well, aside from the opportunity actually to start representing the district that he rather belatedly in his life decided to call home. 🙂

    Look, the guy made the smart political calculation that he’d probably lose to a viable Republican on the special-election ballot, and would then effectively spend the next two years as a lame-duck Congressman. As a matter of political strategy, I don’t criticize his decision not to run. But spinning it any other way is just dizzying.

  2. Support Science to Reverse Global Warming, if still possible says:


    Funny Business

    T@P Why are businesses registering more than 2 million workers to vote? A great challenge lies within the answer.

    By Mark Schmitt

    What would the legendary labor leader Walter Reuther have said if 40 years ago he was told that American business was going to spend millions to register workers and encourage them to vote? He would probably have been ecstatic: “They’re spending their money to turn out my people?!”

    And indeed, since World War II, business usually stayed far away from that kind of politics. Corporations and their political action committees provided the money that drove campaigns — for both parties, but more exclusively to Republicans after 1994 — and that was where their involvement ended.

    But recently, big business has quietly become a political actor in a new way, organizing employees and getting them to vote in what they see as the interests of their employers. For 2006, the Business Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC) has a goal of registering 2.1 million new “pro-business voters” in 15 targeted states. In 2004, the BIPAC program registered 16,000 voters in Iowa, a state George W. Bush won by 13,000 votes. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “” program in 2004 set up 400 Web sites for companies and local chambers with information on candidates’ positions on issues that matter to employees, like tort reform, and energy policy, and of course, “the death tax.” This year, they’ll set up approximately 1,000 sites.

  3. Support Science to Reverse Global Warming, if still possible says:

    A Late (Very Late, My Apologies, I need to be a better researcher) Update:

    The Aug 22, 2006 Ohio trial to count the 2004 votes dismissed…

    NVRI’s Challenge to Ohio’s Recount Procedures End


    Evidently the paper ballots will not be destroyed Sept. 2, but rather are still being counted/reviewed.


    7-17-06: The World’s Quietest News Story:

    Kennedy Files Voting Machine False Claims Lawsuit

    By Bev Harris

    Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his law firm, with backup from powerful lawyers from tobacco litigation, have filed lawsuits against the major vendors of electronic voting machines alleging fraudulent claims.

    Where is this story in the Associated Press? On CNN? With potentially catastrophic financial consequences, why do stock boards for publicly owned Diebold Inc. contain a press release for a recent Diebold acquisition, yet not a word about a lawsuit that could cost the company a billion dollars, devastating stockholders?

    Voting machine vendor fraud may be the biggest story since 1776. The second biggest story may be the silence of the press.


    On July 13, the Pensacola, Fla.-based law firm of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. filed a qui tam lawsuit in U.S. District Court, alleging that Diebold and other electronic voting machine (EVM) companies fraudulently represented to state election boards and the federal government that their products were unhackable.

    Kennedy claims to have witnesses centrally located, deep within the corporations, who will confirm that company officials withheld their knowledge of problems with accuracy, reliability and security of EVMs in order to procure government contracts. Since going into service, many of these machines have been linked to allegations of election fraud.

    The financial consequences for all companies named could be catastrophic. Qui Tam suits can result in companies being required to pay treble damages. Unless settled quickly — which, on a federal level and with the dollar amounts involved, seems unlikely — they will lead to discovery and that will reveal secrets the companies have long tried to keep under wraps.

    Qui Tam issues

    Because a Qui Tam lawsuit usually requires secrecy, use of this remedy involves ethical dilemmas. The case is normally sealed, and even the existence of the case is often not revealed.

    It can take years to lift the seal, and typically the plaintiffs are prohibited from talking about the evidence until the seal is lifted. In the case of evidence of fraudulent claims for voting machines, the impact of keeping evidence necessary for the conduct of fair and accurate elections under seal would be unacceptable. It would be an appalling decision by plaintiffs, for example, if evidence of tamper-friendly voting systems was withheld from the public during a presidential election. That would be exactly the wrong choice to make.

    The first Qui Tam lawsuit filed against voting machine vendors (that we know about) was filed by Black Box Voting founder Bev Harris and Jim March, who was one of the founding board members of Black Box Voting. That Qui Tam alleged that Diebold made false claims when selling its system to Alameda County California. The existence of the suit was kept sealed until June, 2004, but March and Harris refused to keep the evidence under seal, and made all evidence public immediately. Diebold was ultimately forced to pay $2.6 million to the taxpayers of California on this suit.

    Kennedy’s firm appears to be taking an aggressive stance against secrecy

    They did not keep the existence of the suit secret, and have apparently confirmed it in interviews with In These Times and

    Sources close to the plaintiffs have informed Black Box Voting that if the Department of Justice refuses to unseal the case after 60 days, a significant public situation will result, again indicating that this particular litigation will put public interest first and set private agendas aside.

    Citizen investigations and citizen reporters made the difference

    Mike Papantonio, a senior partner at Levin Papantonio Thomas Mitchell Echsner & Proctor, P.A., the Pensacola lawfirm involved in the suit, excoriated the DNC. According to Bradblog, Papantonio cited “the indolent Democrats and the lazy media,” for not participating in any of this, and decried the fact that he and RFK Jr. were essentially forced to take action on their own, given the Dems’ failure to do anything.

    He also spoke of the importance of election integrity groups and certain key blogs. “Unless you had these organizations out there like Black Box Voting or BRAD BLOG, people like that, paying attention to this, this wouldn’t even be on the radar screen,” he said.

    You’ll find stories on this here:

    But not here, as of the posting time of this story:

    Fox News
    New York Times
    Washington Post


    From Paul Lehto:

    Here’s a news preview on my brand new Zogby poll on election transparency that I believe is a very important development for the election protection and “election detection” movement:×446445

    This Zogby poll was commissioned by Paul Lehto with support from Democracy for New Hampshire, Michael Collins and and other election detection patriots.

    Fully 92% of every single demographic group in American favors the public’s right to observe vote counting and to obtain any information regarding vote counting, according an August 12-15 Zogby telephone poll of approximately 1200 likely voters nationwide.

    In a democracy, 51% is winning. 92% is complete annihilation of the “opposition.” When it’s spread across all demographic groups from armed forces to very conservative to walmart shoppers to libertarians to progressives and liberals, the 92% means there really isn’t even a debate to speak of!

    May I recommend as the subject of what the 92% is for or against: “Citizen Oversight” or “Oppose Secret vote counting” or “favor Public’s Right to KNow in Elections”. “Verifiable” elections is simply “capable of verification” and could include a mere audit that may or may not work….


    from BradBlog at DNC:
    – The BRAD BLOG –

    DYSFUNCTION AT THE DNC: Brad Addresses the DNC on Election Integrity, But Is Anybody There Listening?

    A First-hand Account from this Year’s Annual Democratic National Party Gathering in Chicago

    PLUS: ‘Internet Voting’ (Incredibly) Rears Its Ugly Head at the DNC and EXCLUSIVE Outtakes from Jesse Jackson’s Address on the State of Our Elections at ‘High National Security Risk’


    The Rolling Stone piece referenced above, by the good Tim Dickinson, is not currently online. But it’s from the Aug. 24 issue of RS on newsstands now. It asks “Will Democrats Fight Back?” The answer, as Dickinson reports, is a decisive maybe, probably not, things don’t look so good, we hope so but kinda doubt it.

    While it’d be nice to give you an encouraging report from the DNC meeting of how the Dems have finally figured out what the hell is going on here — how they are going to get out in front of this electile dysfunction thing, take the offensive, become proactive and lead the way in becoming the party which stands for vigilance, Electoral Integrity and the assurance that every vote will be counted and counted accurately — I can’t give such a report.

    Yes, there are some good things going on there. One of the most notable being Greg Moore who is now the Director of the DNC’s Voting Rights Institute. He gets it. Moore was responsible for all of the Election Protection-related events over the weekend. It seems he’s been fighting heroically from inside the power structure to wake the Dems up as to what is going on. He’s the one responsible for the historic DNC statement [1] a few weeks ago calling for a full handcount in the illegally administered [2] Busby/Bilbray U.S. House Special Election in California’s 50th congressional district. But it’s clearly been a difficult fight. And last weekend’s events made that crystal clear…


    It was a tough call frankly. Should I speak to the citizen patriots who are actually fighting the good fight on the ground and making sure that things get done? Or should I take the opportunity to try and bang some heads at the DNC, let them know what’s going on, and at the same time try to figure out what they could possibly be thinking just 80 days out before what is likely to be the next electoral train wreck in this first full year of the Help America Vote Act? This year, thanks to HAVA, there is new, untested, unreliable, innaccurate vote counting machines employing secret software set to count our votes. These machines now litter the countryside of our once great democracy. So is there some secret, unknowable reason that the bulk of the folks at the DNC seem to be out to lunch about what is going on here?

    I chose the latter option: To speak to and find out what the hell is going on with the DNC. It would likely be the only chance to do so. At least in person. And at least prior to November.


    There were two main Election Protection-related gatherings over the weekend. The first was on Friday where Moore rolled out the DNC’s Election Protection plan to all 50 state party chairs. I was invited as an “observer” to that event, along with a few other activists. Among them, Progressive Democrats of America [4] Executive Director Tim Carpenter and Chairman of the Board Mimi Kennedy were both on hand to speak, and were instrumental in seeing that activists would be invited to the weekend’s proceedings bringing activists together with party officials.

    The Friday event, a charming DNC aide instructed me as it began, was “off the record” so I don’t have too much to report on it for the time being. Not that I noticed any particular secrets that shouldn’t be shared. The focus was generally on what the DNC plans to do to help state chairs deal with issues that occur on Election Day, their 1-888-DEM-VOTE hotline number, and other items already rolled out publicly in press releases (and covered quickly by The BRAD BLOG [5] several weeks ago.)

    much more


    Lieberman has created a schism in the Democratic Party. Now maybe things will begin to change.

    quoting from David Sirota at Sirotablog:

    Thankfully, the Hill reports that “a group of Senate Democrats is growing increasingly angry about Lieberman’s campaign tactics” and that he “could be stripped of his seniority within the Democratic caucus” after the election. I told McClatchy Newspapers Democrats need to go farther than that – they need to strip Lieberman of his committee assignments right now. That is especially true since, as the Hill notes, “he has adopted rhetoric echoing Republican talking points” to attack not only Connecticut Democratic nominee Ned Lamont, but also top candidates who are the party’s best chances of keeping Senate seats out of GOP hands in other states.

    Make no mistake about it – this is a litmus test issue for Democratic Senators. Echoing one Senate Democratic staffer quoted in the Hill, the willingness by some Democrats to embrace Lieberman, continue preserving his committee spots, and reward him with seniority should he defeat the Democratic nominee gives the view that some Democrats “view that the Senate is a country club rather than representative of a political party and political movement.”

    When I talk to audiences around the country about my book Hostile Takeover I discuss with them the faction of Democrats who undermine their party (Bob Geiger is keeping track of which Democrats are supporting Lieberman). These Democrats supporting Lieberman are exactly the kind of people I am talking about: lawmakers who view American democracy as their exclusive property to be manipulated and disregarded as they see fit. We as Democrats will never be able to fight the conservative movement effectively if in every fight a handful of our own leaders are selling out, undermining our efforts, and siding with the corrupt forces that are driving this country into the ground.

    It is time for Democratic Senators to stop telling everyone how nice a guy they think Joe Lieberman is – he’s not a nice guy, he’s a craven, selfish, anti-democratic opportunist, and is as mortal a threat to the Democratic Party’s ability to take back Congress as George W. Bush is. It is time for Democratic Senators to stop listening to an Enron lobbyist who is demanding they ignore the will of voters. It is time, in short, for our own leaders to stop worrying about country club sensibilities, stop being so comfortable in the minority, and start getting serious about taking back political power.


    Now maybe things will change.


    Democratic Senators on Lamont: The Last Tally

    I made a vow when I began hounding Democratic Senators for a firm position on the Lamont-Lieberman race in Connecticut that I would do the legwork for one week to see what level of support there is among these folks for the duly-chosen Democrat Senatorial nominee in the Nutmeg State.

    As even the 16 people currently exiled filming the latest version of “Survivor” undoubtedly know, Ned Lamont defeated incumbent Joe Lieberman 52 percent to 48 percent on August 8 to take the Democratic nomination for the Senate seat Lieberman has held for three terms.

    So the next move among the other 43 Democrats in the Senate should be a slam dunk, right? Regardless of what deference they showed their longtime colleague, Joe, before the votes were counted, many of us assumed that, if Ned Lamont was chosen by Connecticut Democrats as their standard bearer this year, any self-respecting fellow Democrat would naturally support the party’s nominee.

    How wrong some of us were and I have the final tally from my week of ongoing contact with the offices of every Democratic Senator.

    Let’s wrap up the supporters — no matter how tepid those endorsements may seem right now — with West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd, who finally committed to Lamont yesterday.

    “Senator Byrd is supporting the Democratic nominee in Connecticut,” was the word we got from Tom Gavin, Byrd’s press secretary. “But what the Senator is most focused on right now is his own election.”

    That makes 27 of 43 Senate Democrats — not counting Lieberman, of course — who say they support Lamont in the general election on November 7. …

    Now to the others.

    My wife talked me into painting the bathroom tomorrow and I decided to do that rather than spend time calling and writing the undecided Senators again and again. The way I figure it, I’ll see more progress watching our new paint dry than I will trying to get an answer out of the remaining six, who have steadfastly offered no comment.

    At least Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) took a stand by not taking a stand yesterday.

    “He’s not taking a position — he’s supporting neither candidate,” Bingaman’s Communications Director, Jude McCartin told me. “He’s believes that this is a race for the people of Connecticut to decide and he’s leaving it there. It’s in their hands.”

    As for the undecided six — Baucus (MT), Conrad (ND), Dorgan (ND), Mikulski (MD), Bill Nelson (FL) and Sarbanes (MD) — I’ve decided that three and four attempts at getting a simple answer to what should be an easy question was enough and I’ve lumped them in with the group that seems to have forgotten their party affiliation.

    After all, I wasn’t asking them to fix the Middle East crisis or solve global warming — I was simply asking Democrats if they would support the Democratic nominee for Senate in Connecticut.

    Here’s the final 10 who found that too vexing to answer:

    Bill Nelson

    And finally, here’s our Rogue’s gallery of the total sell-outs who are on the record as supporting Joe Lieberman — for whom the Republicans are now giving their support — over the nominee of their own party:

    Ben Nelson
    (Inouye just recently changed to support Lamont)

    So our summary is as follows: 27 Senate Democrats for Ned Lamont, six who may have trouble getting a seat on the Senate Subcommittee on Sewage Management in the next Congress and 10 who have a hard time doing the right thing when it’s staring them right in the face — and even after I went through the trouble of writing their press release for them.

    So there’s 16 of them who are going to have a hard time looking Senator Lamont in the face when he shows up in the halls of Congress in January.

    But, if you want to take one more crack at changing some minds, the toll-free number for the Capitol is 888-355-3588. The operators are very nice and connect you very quickly — take it from me.


    What’s wrong with the Holt Bill in three easy bullets

    Common Cause,, TrueMajority,, and many other large election reform groups are pushing – and pushing hard – for passage of HR550 (the Holt Bill), national legislation aimed to amend the Help America Vote Act. The bill is being sold as a way to put “auditable paper trails” into national law. Sounds like a great idea. But many activists disagree with the approach to support “paper trails” that might be audited when what we want are real paper ballots that are – not might be – counted.


    Now David Sirota will be working on Lamont’s campaign. Neat.


    And, there is a GOP schism.

    Now Bob Barr wants paper ballots…

    To go along with Pat Robertson wanting problem solving for Global Warming…

  4. Prove Our Democracy with Paper Ballots says:

    And, I really don’t know what to make of the following at all. It was just in a few places, so I am tossing this out too as possible evidence of GOP schism city…

    GOP candidate says 9/11 attacks were a hoax

    By ALBERT McKEON, Telegraph Staff
    [email protected]
    Published: Thursday, Aug. 24, 2006

    A Republican candidate for this area’s congressional seat said Wednesday that the U.S. government was complicit in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

    In an editorial board interview with The Telegraph on Wednesday, the candidate, Mary Maxwell, said the U.S. government had a role in killing nearly 3,000 people at the World Trade Center and Pentagon, so it could make Americans hate Arabs and allow the military to bomb Muslim nations such as Iraq.


    Maxwell would not specify if she holds the opinion that the government stood by while terrorists hijacked four domestic airliners and used them as weapons, or if it had a larger role by sanctioning and carrying out the attacks.


    “Legally, we shouldn’t have gone to Iraq if Congress can’t explain why,” she said.

    Maxwell described herself as a strict Constitutionalist, a candidate who wants to bring the country “back to basics.” The Constitution grants more power to the legislative branch than the other two branches, but Congress has allowed the executive and judicial branches to diminish its influence, she said.



    She can probably rule out getting any campaign help from Bush or Cheney. But her fellow citizens seem to prefer her version of the conspiracy over Slate’s crappy cartoon version!


  5. PDiddie says:

    Wow. Somebody needs to get their own blog.

  6. seank says:


    This could be a brilliant move on Lampson’s part.

    It forces Sekula-Gibbs to abandon her city council seat.

    Plus the whole special election gambit may hurt, rather than help her write-in effort. Once voters have already marked the box for Sekula-Gibbs for the special, they may be less inclined to write her name in, thinking, perhaps, that they have already supported her. If Sekula-Gibbs has the ballot line to herself for the special, I imagine this sort of confusion could be increased.

    So, who’s going to fill the Sekula-Gibbs seat on the city council? Ayers?

  7. Support Science to Reverse Global Warming, if still possible says:

    For his good works and influence, Charles Kuffner is a hub of hubs, read by people like you who are important to achieving change in as safe, quick and helpful a manner for everyone’s families’ sake.


    Stephen Hawking says we have to learn to be kinder, less aggressive and smarter to survive. He says that if we let this go too far, we will have a Greenhouse Gas effect which could make Earth like Venus: 900 degrees and lifeless.

    Since our GOP leaders are doing a heckavah extinction level job for us all with Climate Crisis, we have to make sure our Democracy works again in order to change leadership to better problem solvers for everyone’s families.



    But variations of it have faced our forefathers, when men like Nixon and McCarthy and Curtis LeMay have darkened our skies and obscured our flag. Note — with hope in your heart — that those earlier Americans always found their way to the light, and we can, too.


    Although I presumptuously use his sign-off each night, in feeble tribute, I have utterly no claim to the words of the exemplary journalist Edward R. Murrow.

    But never in the trial of a thousand years of writing could I come close to matching how he phrased a warning to an earlier generation of us, at a time when other politicians thought they (and they alone) knew everything, and branded those who disagreed: “confused” or “immoral.”


    “We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular.”

    And so good night, and good luck.

  8. Support Science to Reverse Global Warming, if still possible says:

    I forgot to add that the quote came from the wonderful Keith Olbermann.

    [email protected]

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