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Thursday, April 07, 2005

TX-22: Tom DeLay vulnerable; Democrats gearing up

Posted by Bob Brigham

Republican Congressman Tom DeLay (R-TX) has been getting plenty of ink on the likelyhood of Majority Leader losing his seat in congress.

Now the Associated Press is bringing the story to every small-town paper in the country:

HOUSTON - Democrats, who often ignored Rep. Tom DeLay's Republican-leaning district, see a political opening in 2006 now that the House Majority leader faces ethics questions and dismay over his intervention in the Terri Schiavo case.

The AP story mentions the latest polling (see more here):

This week, a Houston Chronicle poll in the district found that 49 percent said they would vote for someone else. That number has sparked the most interest in a Democratic primary in the district in years.

"Now that DeLay is being pushed ever closer to the political brink, everyone is realizing that any of these challengers on his worst day might be better than DeLay on his best day," said longtime Democratic strategist Kelly Fero.

The AP also lists possible contenders:

Among the potential Democratic challengers:

_Richard Morrison, a lawyer from Sugar Land, Texas, captured 41 percent of the vote with only $630,000 against DeLay's $2.9 million in last November's election. Morrison is favored by local Democratic activists who believe he deserves their loyalty for his strong showing.

_Houston City Councilman Gordon Quan, a Chinese-American immigration lawyer, could capitalize on the district's growing Asian and South Asian population.

_Former Rep. Nick Lampson, whose district was redrawn to favor the GOP and covered areas that DeLay now represents, including the NASA area and Galveston. Lampson said he has been approached by several people but hasn't decided whether to run.

A nascent effort to draft former Rep. Chris Bell (news, bio, voting record) fizzled when Bell responded to e-mailers that he preferred to focus on his gubernatorial ambitions.

The good news for Democrats is that it is looking like we'll have a contested primary. That would allow more exposure early and help Democrats in the nationalization of running against Tom DeLay. The story of local campaigning will speed the increase in DeLay's name recognition nationwide and give Democratic challengers across the country the perfect villan.

I was delighted when I read the following:

Morrison, who initially offered to step aside out of party loyalty if Quan wanted to run, said he has changed his mind.

"I'm not going to be scared to spill Democratic blood," Morrison said. "I'm a victim of my own success. Last time, the wisdom was, don't do it, he (DeLay) will stomp you into the ground. ... And now it's a race."


Posted at 03:32 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Activism, Texas | Technorati