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Bell’s doing well

All things considered, it’s not so bad to be Chris Bell right about now.

Since filing an ethics complaint against the House Republican leader from Sugar Land last month, Bell has become a darling of the Democrats.

Texan delegates to the Boston convention clamored Monday to have their picture taken with him. They asked for his autograph and encouraged him to run for statewide office.

“He has a lot of courage,” said Carmen Nuncio of Houston. “I am very proud of him.”

Later, Bell appeared at a posh reception for former Democratic House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt at Boston’s Wang Theatre, where several colleagues praised the Houston lawmaker for going after DeLay.

“To take on one of the most powerful, toughest members of the House takes a lot of guts,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

Bell said the support from Democrats and some Republicans has been surprising in the wake of his allegations that DeLay violated House rules by engaging in abuse of power and improper fund-raising.

“It’s funny how things work out sometimes,” Bell said. “Obviously it was the Republicans’ full intention to kill me. But in a sense, they’ve breathed even more life into me. Who would have thought that?”

Well, fortune is supposed to favor the bold. Bell will need to make sure some of that love he’s getting from outside Texas comes home with him for it to be more than good vibrations. Making sure the ethics complaint is taken seriously and not as the grandstanding move DeLay’s flunkies claim it to be would be a good first step.

[Bell] plans to take a hard look at running for statewide office in 2006 and doesn’t believe his tiff with DeLay will hurt him.

“People are sick of watching Democrats just laying down and taking it. They want to see people standing up and fighting for what they believe is right,” said Bell.

Not to overstate my point here, but whether this “tiff” helps or hurts Bell is directly tied to the outcome. If DeLay is found to be guilty of the charges Bell has levelled, he’ll have a pretty solid parry to anyone who claims he was just being vindictive, and the type of person who’ll still believe he was pulling a stunt is likely the type of person who wouldn’t vote for him anyway. If not, well, I’m sure he’ll do fine in his private law practice. We ought to know in another six weeks or so.

UPDATE: Kos appears to have had a chat with Chris Bell. Check it out.

UPDATE: And more on Chris Bell.

Rep. Chris Bell of Houston, who lost his bid for re-election earlier this year in a district redrawn by the Republican-led Legislature, said Tuesday he is considering a range of options, including a possible run for governor in 2006.


Bell, addressing Texas delegates to the Democratic National Convention over breakfast, said his future plans dependin part on whether Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison takes on Gov. Rick Perry in the 2006 Republican primary – a decision Hutchison is expected to make next year.

“If she runs for governor, the dominos start falling,” Bell said, a reference to political chatter suggesting GOP Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst could seek Hutchison’s seat and Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn could run to succeed Dewhurst.

Bell lost in the March Democratic primary to Al Green.

“If there’s an upside to losing in March, it does give you a lot of time to weigh your options,” Bell said.

Always look on the bright side of life.

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