Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Republicans Look to Replace DeLay

This is off Yahoo News:

HOUSTON - Republicans hoping to fill the seat of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay stepped forward Tuesday as the 11-term lawmaker said he would resign, leaving the Texas district whose boundaries he drew.

Within hours of DeLay's announcement, several Republicans contacted party officials about getting on the Nov. 7 ballot. Among the potential candidates: Harris County Judge Robert Eckels, who worked with Houston's mayor to help the city absorb Hurricane Katrina refugees, and the county's tax collector-assessor, Paul Bettencourt.

A committee of select precinct chairmen from the four counties that comprise DeLay's 22nd Congressional District will select a nominee to replace him.

The issue of who will represent the Republican-leaning district between DeLay's departure and the election is unclear.

If DeLay had resigned effective this week, Gov. Rick Perry could have called a special election for the next uniform election date, May 13. The next uniform election date is Nov. 7, though Perry could call an emergency special election before then.

The Republicans' new nominee would have to be selected well before the November election to have time to raise money and campaign. Lampson had $1.4 million cash on hand as of Feb. 15. DeLay had nearly $1.3 million, which he can transfer to his legal defense fund for his upcoming money-laundering trial.

Eric Thode, the outgoing GOP chairman of Fort Bend County, the largest area of DeLay's district, said a special election would be open to candidates of any party, but the district still favors a Republican.

"My Republican dog would win that election," Thode said, calling a special election "an innocuous and extremely expensive waste of time."

In addition to Eckels and Bettencourt, other possible GOP candidates are attorney Tom Campbell, who won about a quarter of the GOP primary vote against DeLay last month; Republican state Reps. Robert Talton and Charlie Howard; Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace; Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs and former state District Judge John Devine.

I'm not sure what I can add to this, except that the Republicans are now in a tizzy, trying to figure out who should replace DeLay on the November ballot. It is like an open primary for the Republicans, where a nominee has to be selected with a week or so. And this nominee is not going to be selected by the Republican voters in the 22nd District, but rather by the precinct chairmen from the counties that comprise the 22nd District.

Can you say back-room dealing here?


Thomas said...

Do you think Republicans will be able to get back to their "small government" roots?

Eric A Hopp said...

Thomas: The Republicans will never go back to their "small government" roots. In fact, the "small government" roots is just pure propaganda spin. Both political parties have become beholden to big government. The difference is what part of the federal government they wish to expand to "big." The Republicans are willing to expand the federal government in the areas of law enforcement, intelligence, and defense--look at President Bush's Department of Homeland Security, the illegal NSA wiretappings on domestic Americans, and the Pentagon's own defense budget with more of our tax dollars going towards the Iraq war. Where Republicans want to talk about the role of making government smaller, it will usually be in the area of social programs and social services. That is the Republican's small government fix, which is pretty much a complete lie since almost half the federal budget is taken up by Social Security and Medicare entitlements (I think it is around 40 percent of the federal budget). The Democrats are on the opposite side. The Democrats want to reduce the defense budget--we won the Cold War--and transfer the savings, also known as the peace dividends, into the social programs that the Republicans want to cut. So both parties eat out of the federal trough here--it is just which end of the trough you're gorging on.