DeLay on ballot means problems for Texas GOP

Brian Beutler
Published: Thursday July 6, 2006

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A ruling by a federal judge today to keep former Representative Tom DeLay (R-TX) on the 2006 ballot is likely to have undesirable consequences for the Republican Party in Texas, RAW STORY has learned.

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks, a Republican appointee, ruled that DeLay must appear on the Nov. 7 ballot as the GOP nominee even though he abandoned his congressional seat last month.

The GOP is expected to take the decision, to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, contending that, although Delay still maintains an address in Sugarland, TX, his primary residence is now in Virginia.

If the Republicans lose on appeal, DeLay will have to decide whether to campaign for an office from which he already has resigned.

In the meantime, Sparks' ruling halts the process required to replace DeLay on the ballot.

But Fort Bend County Commissioner Andy Meyers thinks this may create a problem. “If Tom’s gonna be on the ballot, he’s gonna be on the ballot," he told RAW STORY. "The concern that some of us might have is that the legal process might stretch out so far that there might be a 30 day campaign. There’s no way that there’d be enough time to organize.

"We’re kinda stuck," he concluded. "It’s hard to get up and say, 'vote for me, but, hey I might not be the candidate.' To me it doesn’t make any sense.”

Sources close to Sugarland Mayor and Congressional hopeful David Wallace voiced similar concerns. “We’re disappointed about what’s going on. Dave Wallace will support another Republican nominee, but we want Republicans to have a choice in November.”

But serious doubts remain about Delays chances if he is forced into a candidacy. “I wouldn’t want to speculate [on Delay’s chances]," sources told RAW STORY, "but I think Republicans will support him.”

Asked whether Delay could defeat challenger Nick Lampson, one Democratic strategist noted, “probably not. I think there’s distrust in his district. The reason that he himself is not running is that he doesn’t think he can win.”

Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, also seeking DeLay’s seat, speculated, “I think he can win if he puts his mind to it and if he works very hard.”