(UPDATE: I’m putting this at the top of the post as penance for having missed it in the first place. Jack, whose stepson shamed DeLay for his original I-won’t-debate stance, was there at the Clear Lake candidates’ forum yesterday and gives a great report on it. Check it out.)
Yes, children, Tom DeLay did confound everyone by actually showing up at the Clear Lake High School candidates’ forum last night.
Tom DeLay made a surprise appearance Tuesday night at a Clear Lake candidates forum.
There was so much speculation about whether the House majority leader would show up that even the sponsor, the Clear Lake High School Debate Club, said it wasn’t expecting him.
But about 30 minutes before the forum began, the students got a call that the Sugar Land Republican was on his way.
The candidates, including independent Michael Fjetland, Democrat Richard Morrison and Libertarian Tom Morrison (no relation), discussed local issues such as the San Jacinto Rail line and mobility, and national concerns including the war on terror and homeland security.
While the candidates debated the issues, much of the focus was on DeLay’s unexpected appearance.
“I didn’t think he was going to be here,” Fjetland said. “If I had known, I would have prepared better, but I winged it. If he didn’t show up, he realized he was going to look bad.”
DeLay said he didn’t know why people were surprised to see him, although he admitted he decided to attend at the last minute. He had earlier planned to attend a leukemia fund-raiser in Rosenberg.
Gosh, Tom, do you think that this might have been the reason why no one expected you?
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on Friday said that he would not debate Democratic challenger Richard Morrison before the Nov. 2 election.
“A debate would be for his benefit, not for mine,” DeLay said of Morrison.
He also said that a debate with Morrison would go largely unnoticed. “Unfortunately, debates in this area have never had an impact because media doesn’t cover them,” DeLay said. “Television never covers them. I’ve been doing this for 20 years and you show up to a forum where there are more candidates at the forum than constituents. I’d much rather be out with constituents, meeting them and going to events.”
No media coverage, huh? Well, in addition to the Chron story, the Galveston News has this and this, plus this picture currently sitting on their front page. I saw KTRK‘s story last night – it was the first thing they ran after the obligatory Astros fawning. I’m told the other stations were there as well, though KPRC just has the same AP story and KHOU has no link. And of course, we’re starting from a Chron story on the debate.
This Kos post has stuff about the debate and some new poll numbers. Be sure to read this comment about the other candidate named Morrison. Commenter Robert in this post attended the Clear Lake forum last night and shares his thoughts about it.
Back to the Chron story for a second:
DeLay said he is committed to bringing the parties together and finding a solution.
He’s talking about the proposed San Jacinto freight rail line through Clear Lake, which everyone who has a stake in the area already opposes except for, you know, DeLay himself. I just want to marvel at the thought of Tom DeLay working with anyone who opposes him on anything. If that’s not the most amazing thing to come out of a candidate’s mouth this election season, I don’t know what is.
More good endorsement news: The Morning News goes for Martin Frost, after having endorsed Edwards. The Statesman endorsed both Kelly White and Mark Strama in their State House races (via BOR). And Charlotte Coffelt picked up a pretty nice endorsement, too. Here’s the scoop from a campaign email she sent:
In the current issue of the Observer newspapers, you will see a letter of endorsement from Lauren Kasprzak in a paid campaign advertisement (for me), in which she describes overhearing Rep. [Joe] Crabb (while she worked for the Texas House of Representatives Redistricting Committee) in a conversation with another man who described the League of Women Voters as the “plague of women voters”. Now a senior at the University of Texas in Austin, Lauren learned a great deal about how the democratic process should not work by working with Rep. Crabb and became determined to help make it better–hence her support and endorsement of my candidacy.
Here’s the backstory on Ms. Kasprzak. Good on her for following her principles.