Friday, October 27, 2006
TX-22: Divorced From RealityPosted by James L.
From a Roll Call article (subscription-only):
The National Republican Congressional Committee has now spent more than $1.1 million on the write-in campaign being waged by Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs (R), indicating that the GOP is making a definite play to hold the 22nd district seat. [...]
"Voters in the wealthy Houston suburbs are sophisticated voters, and our efforts are to make sure they don't get duped by a liberal Democrat who is posing as a conservative," a Republican strategist said Wednesday.
I'm so glad to see that the NRCC is flushing $1.1 million dollars down the tubes in a quixotic attempt to hold this seat. That's $1.1 million dollars that won't be used to defend precarious Republican holds over purplish seats like ID-01, CA-04, and WY-AL. Steven Benen at Midterm Madness sums the situation up a bit more realistically for the GOP:
Of course, GOP voters have to be more than "sophisticated," they also have to be patient enough to write in a very long name -- 20 characters, including spaces -- on an eSlate electronic voting machine, which happens to lack a keyboard.
Keep reaching for that rainbow, NRCC.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
TX-17: NRCC Retreats, Circles the Wagons in... Idaho?Posted by James L.
Another quick 'n' dirty update (I've got a major midterm tomorrow): from the indispensable Burnt Orange Report comes word of a full-scale retreat by the National Republican Campaign Committee in TX-17, home of the perennially-targeted Democratic incumbent Chet Edwards:
According to five television stations in the DFW market, the NRCC on Monday canceled its planned television ad buy on behalf of Taylor. The cancelled Taylor buy was valued at over $1.5 million and was scheduled to run in the last two weeks of the campaign.
One by one, Republicans are cutting the lifelines of even their most top-tier challengers, and focusing on precarious seats in purplish states like... Idaho. Yes, Idaho, home of one of the most surprisingly competitive congressional races this cycle:
At the same time, the National Republican Congressional Committee on Monday began buying tens of thousands of dollars of television airtime across the district to run a last-minute advertising blitz beginning today, broadcasters said. Democratic candidate Larry Grant said Idaho airwaves will be flooded with attack ads targeting him because Republicans are panicking.
“Our understanding is the NRCC has produced a negative ad, and they bought almost $400,000 to run these ads against me,” Grant said. “I think most folks are going to understand they are in trouble.”
$400,000 on a district that delivered 70% of its vote for Bush in 2004. Chew on that one. With the Republicans losing confidence in Van Taylor's campaign in TX-17 (a district that is just as Republican as ID-01), how often do we see the NRCC nervous about their ability to win in districts that have delivered 70% of their vote to Bush?
For just a taste of how awful Idaho Republican candidate Bill Sali is as a politician, check out his statement from four years ago on his mental affliction that he curiously refers to as "brain fade".
Monday, October 02, 2006
TX-22: Nick Lampson Calls on NRCC to Protect Exploited ChildrenPosted by James L.
David gave me the day off today, but I just can't sit in my seat and not share this news with you. On Friday, when the explosive revelations surrounding Republican Rep. Mark Foley's predatory relationship with young male pages--and the cover-up by the enabling and irresponsible House Republican Leadership--were revealed, Swing State Project took the lead in demanding that Mark Foley and the NRCC atone for their actions by donating the $2.7 million+ warchest that Foley had amassed for his re-election. I have no doubt that the NRCC would gladly suck up the $2.7 million warchest of a sexual predator, so it's time for our voices to be heard: Republicans must turn over their tainted money to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children or a similar credible charity that protects exploited children.
One strong voice that has emerged on this matter is former Congressman Nick Lampson, who originally founded the Congressional Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children (the same Caucus that Foley would go on to shamefully taint). Lampson has set up a great action page that helps you send a message to Republicans that using Foley's tainted $2.7 million to help protect vulnerable incumbents this fall is unacceptable:
Today, I sent a letter to my opponent asking her to join me in calling for the resignation of any member of congressional leadership who had knowledge of inappropriate email and instant messenger communications between shamed Congressman Mark Foley and underage pages working at the House of Representatives. I urged my opponent to donate the funds she recently received from Congressman Tom Reynolds, who has admitted he knew of the situation and did nothing about it and from any others in congressional leadership who had prior knowledge of Mr. Foley's actions to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Now, we find out that the national Republicans are quick to condemn Congressman Foley, but are willing to accept the $2.7 million campaign war chest Mr. Foley has amassed. On Sunday, Carl Forti, the communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said "that the committee would gladly accept Mr. Foley's money or part of it to devote to House races." [New York Times, 10/2/06]
Please join me in calling on Mr. Foley and the NRCC to donate his $2.7 million campaign war chest to the National Center for Missing Exploited Children.
Lampson is stepping up aggressively on this issue, and I'd like every single Democratic challenger to follow. I want Democrats to demand that their Republican opponents return any money that Foley donated to them. I want Democrats to demand that the NRCC not take ownership of the campaign warchest of a sexual predator. And furthermore, I want to see a lot more press releases like this one:
"Congressman Foley was a member of our Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus and even rose to chair that organization," Lampson said. "Because of our involvement in that caucus, I feel utterly betrayed by these revelations. This is simply disgusting, and the fact that Congressional leaders knew about the allegations and actively worked to cover them up is an outrage. Any member of congressional leadership who knew about these allegations and failed to act should resign from Congress immediately." (Emphasis added.)
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
TX-22: New Poll Has Lampson (D) Way in FrontPosted by DavidNYC
There's a new poll out by Bennett, Petts and Blumenthal for the Nick Lampson campaign. Unfortunately, the polling memo (PDF) only has limited details (it doesn't say, for instance, whether we're using RVs or LVs), but I'll pass it along anyway:
Lampson (D): 43
Smither (L): 10
Write-In (Sekula-Gibbs): 14
Write-In (Other): 7
One other heartening finding is that only 39% of respondents in a generic ballot question said they'd support the Republican. Sekula-Gibbs has a deep well to climb out of, and it looks like she's going to have a hell of a time doing it. But if you really want a full break-down on this survey, go check out Charles Kuffner.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
TX-22: Perry's Gambit BackfiresPosted by James L.
As you may know by now, the Texas Republican Party pulled a cute stunt last week when Gov. Rick Perry (R) called for a special election to fill Tom DeLay's vacant seat for the rest of his term, expiring in January 2007. At first glance, it seems clever--by holding the special on the same day as the general, it gives Republican write-in candidate Shelley Sekula-Gibbs an actual ballot position, which theoretically should help remind Republican die-hards to scribble in Ms. Hyphen's name on the general ballot.
I say "theoretically" for several reasons. First of all, Nick Lampson is boycotting the special election. This is likely an effective strategy not only because it de-legitimizes the special election as a DeLay-Perry powerplay, but also because it will generate a certain amount of confusion. As Rick Hasen notes via the Hotline, Republican voters who are deterimined to vote for Secular-Gibs may cast a vote for her on the "special" ballot and think that their work is done. Furthermore, it won't just be Shelley on the special ballot. A relatively low filing fee has brought up a whole crop of other candidates contesting the special election. From the AP:
Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, backed by Republicans as a write-in candidate in the general election, is among those who filed by Friday's deadline for the special election.
She is joined by three other Republicans — retired Air Force Maj. Don Richardson; Dr. Hoa Tran Giannibecego; and former U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman — and Libertarian Bob Smither.
I see this cutting in two ways. First of all, voters will see two ballots--one with Lampson and Smither (the general ballot), and another with Ms. Hypenated-Name and three other Republicans plus Smither (the special ballot). Voters who are determined to vote against Lampson may think that they're picking their anti-Lampson choice on the special ballot alone, and their work would be done. Secondly, for sharper Republican voters, having a whole crop full of special election candidates who aren't on the general ballot may actually increase the number of divided write-in votes. If the Republican aim was to increase Sekula-Gibbs' name recognition for the general ballot, their gambit may inadvertently cause a portion of Republicans to pick a name from the list of special election choices and scribble it in against Lampson on the general ballot (even though they haven't registered to run as write-ins).
The more I think about this one, the more I feel "Democrat Favored" is probably the more appropriate ranking over "Leans Democratic".
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
TX-23, TX-10: Ciro Dropping Out; Ankrum PollPosted by DavidNYC
Breaking news from the indispensible Burnt Orange Report (via e-mail):
Making the announcement at a San Antonio AFL-CIO meeting, former Congressman Ciro Rodriguez has announced he will withdraw his bid for the new 23rd Congressional District against Henry Bonilla. That leaves Albert Uresti, Lukin Gilliland, Rick Bolanos, and Augie Beltran as the remaining Democrats in the race. Gilliland appears to be set as a potential new frontrunner among the challengers.
I don't know anything about Gilliland, but clearly BOR is the place to keep reading for more on this development. More here. Also from BOR, a shocking new poll from Fighting Dem Ted Ankrum (likely voters, no trendlines):
Ankrum (D): 42
McCaul (R-inc.): 51
Badnarik (L): 8
Now, this is a robo-poll, from an outfit I've never heard of (Forensic Economic Data Consulting). But unless this poll is totally wacky, this is pretty stunning. I mean, this district is R+13, and Ankrum had raised all of $30,000 as of the last reporting period - 10% as much as the third-party candidate, Libertarian Michael Badnarik. I'm sure Badnarik is holding down McCaul's numbers, but still, this is an impressive showing for a third-tier Dem. And again, if this survey has any legitimacy whatsoever, it's clearly bad news for the GOP in general.
Friday, August 18, 2006
TX-22: Riddle Me ThisPosted by James L.
Say you're the Texas GOP, and you want to clear the field for just one candidate in the open seat race created by Tom DeLay's slow crawl back into the bowels of the earth. Your only option is a write-in campaign, which is always incredibly exhausting and expensive to pull off. Among other things, your best bet would be to coalesce around someone with deep and broad name recognition--someone whose name voters won't be likely to forget how to spell in November. So, tell me, why would you pick a city councillor with a hyphen in her name, instead of someone with a high profile and an easy name to remember (like, say, Sugar Land mayor David Wallace)? Yeah, that's right; the TX GOP has decided to close ranks around Houston city councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs as their candidate of choice.
I can just see the scene now: cranky 70 year-old Republican die-hards trying to figure out if they're supposed to vote for Shellie or Shelly or Sekulagibs or Gibbs-Sekula or God knows what permutation pops up into their mind... before they decide to screw it all and vote for the Libertarian, Bob Smither, instead.
Oh, hey, speaking of that Libertarian: as the TX GOP, you're going to have to deal with fringe elements of your own party endorsing Smither as the only obvious choice on the ballot for rigid conservatives. On top of that, you'll also have to deal with the fallout from your behind-closed-gates endorsement decision with key elements of your local party's machinery in open revolt, mucking up your efforts to push Secula-Gibs (or however they want you to spell it):
However, in a letter to candidates Wednesday, Gary Gillen, chairman of the Fort Bend County GOP, was critical of the state party’s calling for a “gathering” of precinct chairs.
“In my opinion, the Republican Party leadership in Austin has chosen to organize local Republicans into a secret, exclusionary process that only reinforces the perception of a backroom deal and the perception we have something to hide,” Gillen wrote. “Anyone wanting to run should pay the fee and get your running shoes on."
In short, at this stage in the game, I'd say you're screwed.
Update: Swing State Project reader Patrick writes in to share that Sek-Ulagibz's hyphenated name is not her only disadvantage:
Her name sounds like...like...SECULAR!!!!!!
Update II:: Commenter "Rhymes With Right" chimes in with some pretty crucial info that renders much of this post moot:
Mind a little input from a GOP precinct chair/election judge who has been involved in the process ever since The Virginian screwed, blued, and tattooed CD22 this spring?
1) Under Texas law, every booth will have a list of write-in candidates hanging in it showing all write-in candidates for all offices. That was done with Nader in 2004.
2) The Texas standard for write-in votes is intent of the voter. It isn't a spelling test. Indeed, all the verious permutations of her name you proposed above would be sufficient to get a vote counted for Dr. Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, barring the possibility that they find a Texan named Sheldon Secular-Godd to run against her. Indeed, based upon past practice, SSG would be sufficient to to get a vote counted in the good doctor's favor if such a hypothetical candidate does not exist.
This clearly makes the task for Secular Ribs a lot easier than I assumed. Still, this race is totally advantage: Lampson. With a Libertarian fracturing the Republican vote and even a sliver of Republicans voting for Wallace (assuming he stays on), Lampson is looking good. Of course, finding someone named Sheldon Secular-Godd to run on the ballot wouldn't hurt, either.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
TX-22: Cook Changes Rating to Lean-DemPosted by DavidNYC
From a Cook Report e-mail (also available on the site's front page):
TX-22 Open (DeLay) moves from Toss-Up to Lean D. Winning a write-in campaign is hard enough, but squabbling among Republicans in the district means that there may not be a consensus candidate for the national and state party to rally around. While this district retains a good Republican advantage – and there’s always room to be surprised in politics – the benefit of the doubt now goes to Democrat Nick Lampson.
This marks the first time, I believe, that Cook (or any pro prognosticator, for that matter) has marked a GOP-held House seat as anything better than a tossup. Obviously, the circumstances here are extremely unusual (and CQ notes that only four federal write-in campaigns have succeeded over the past 52 years). But I wonder if any other GOP seats will move into the Dem column over the next few months.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
TX-22: Bugman ExterminatedPosted by DavidNYC
Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay intends to withdraw as a candidate for Congress, a Republican strategist said Tuesday, a step that would allow the party to field a write-in candidate in hopes of holding his seat.
The development came one day after Texas Republicans lost a court battle in their bid to replace DeLay on the November ballot.
There will be no Republican candidate to face Democrat Nick Lampson, a former House member.
Charlie Wilson pulled off a write-in victory in the OH-06 Democratic primary, and even though that was a decidedly smaller affair, it still cost a ton of money. I have to imagine that even in a deep-red district like this one, a general election write-in campaign would be extremely tough for the GOP. So is this race now Lean Dem? I don't want to get too giddy, but I'd have to imagine that it is.
Friday, August 04, 2006
TX-23: Looking More Blue TodayPosted by RBH
The results from the newest Texas Redistricting have come in, and Burnt Orange Report is there!
The re-re-redistricting affected the following districts: TX-15 (Hinojosa), TX-21 (Smith), TX-23 (Bonilla), TX-25 (Doggett), and TX-28 (Cuellar).
Hinojosa's new district is much more compact than the current district. Smith's district appears to be redder than before which will make things harder for John Courage. Doggett actually got a pretty good setup. He now has his part of Travis county, plus more of Travis County, and some assorted counties to the east. Cuellar's district adds all of Webb county, and subtracts Bexar county.
Early reports suggest that Bonilla is in a competitive district again. Of course, with an open primary just 3 months away, Bonilla has a pretty good advantage. No word on if there'll be any sort of stampede of candidates for Bonilla's district, or if Rick Bolanos will get an uncontested shot at Bonilla.
Election implications: Lightning might strike and somebody big might step in to face Bonilla, although I doubt it. Running for Congress now in Texas probably carries the same shot of victory as running a marathon on the fly. I do expect Cuellar and Doggett to get actual Republican opponents, but nothing serious.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
TX-22: Won't Get Fooled AgainPosted by DavidNYC
A federal appeals court panel on Thursday refused to let Texas Republicans replace Tom DeLay's name on the November congressional ballot.
A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling by U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks, who said in July that DeLay name had to stay on the ballot even though he quit from Congress and moved to Virginia.
As glad as I am to see DeLay have to deal with all of this, he will no doubt blame this turn of events on a Democratic conspiracy (two of the judges on the appeals panel were Dem-appointed). DeLay will rewrite history to say that they tried to keep him out, but couldn't prevent his victorious "return" - and his supporters will gobble it up. Republicans have gotten very good at playing the victim card lately, and DeLay can cast himself as both a victim and a martyr, the ultimate combo. In other words, Nick Lampson still has a very serious race on his hands, despite all his cash-on-hand. I think DeLay might be able to rake in plenty of pity money.
However, I think we're all hoping that DeLay can still be used as an icon of corruption, especially if his trial proceeds forward during the next few months. Hopefully he's still a potent symbol Republican excess.
(Hat tip: DCCC.)
Monday, July 31, 2006
TX-22: Stay Tuned...Posted by James L.
Any day now, we'll find out whether the 5th Circuit of Appeals will allow former Democratic Rep. Nick Lampson the opportunity to crush Tom DeLay, or whether he'll go head-to-head with the Texas Republican Party's hand-picked replacement. The appeals court has begun hearing arguments today:
A federal appeals panel indicated today that the ability of Republicans to replace former U.S. Rep. Tom Delay on the ballot rests on whether there was "conclusive" evidence that he had moved to Virginia.
The three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals did not indicate when it would rule. But questions from the panel seemed to favor the Democrats' position that Republican officials could not declare DeLay ineligible for office based on residency prior to election day.
Republican lawyer James Bopp Jr. told the panel that DeLay had given Texas Republican Chairwoman Tina Benkiser enough evidence that she could make a "reasonable prediction" that DeLay would not be a resident of Texas on election day. That evidence included a change of driver's license and voter registration, plus a letter stating he had moved to Virginia.
Bopp said that gave her the power to declare DeLay ineligible to serve if elected and opened the door for replacing him on the ballot.
But Judges Pete Benavides and Edith Clement noted that a candidate like DeLay could move back to Texas by election day and be eligible for office. They said the U.S. Constitution would prohibit a state party official from throwing a candidate off the ballot in such circumstances.
"How can it be conclusive if you can always change your voter registration," Clement asked.
So far, so good. Of course, it'd be much preferable for Lampson to face DeLay, as his campaign warchest is being rapidly siphoned off to pay for his legal defense against his lingering criminal indictment.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
TX-22: No Escape For Tom DeLayPosted by James L.
Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in! -- The Godfather Part III
From the Houston Chronicle:
A federal judge ruled today that Republicans cannot replace former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay on the ballot for the 22nd Congressional District race.
U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks, a Republican appointee, ruled that DeLay must appear on the Nov. 7 ballot as the GOP nominee for the congressional seat that DeLay abandoned last month. Sparks ruling was confirmed by Texas Democratic Party spokeswoman Amber Moon.
Wow. What was widely seen as a legal stall tactic to temporarily block the TX GOP from replacing Tom DeLay with a less radioactive candidate on the ballot this November has turned out to be the real deal. We'll have to wait and see what the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has to say about this, but a lot of damage is done already: if DeLay comes back to campaign in TX-22 (which he recently murmured that he's willing to do), not only will he have to reassemble his field and campaign team, but he'll also face an awfully awkward homecoming from his temporary escape to Virginia. What does it say to voters in his district when only a court order is enough to get him to step back into the state of Texas? It's not exactly flattering, to say the least.
Even if this decision is overturned by the appeals process, the Republicans will have lost months of valuable campaign time--time that genuine nice guy and proud Texan Nick Lampson won't waste.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
TX-22: Will Lampson Face ANY Opposition in November?Posted by James L.
That's the question on our minds after hearing that former Republican Representative and Independent candidate Steve Stockman apparently failed to submit the 500 valid signatures required by Texas law to have his name placed on the November ballot:
Former GOP Congressman Steve Stockman (Independent) failed to qualify for the ballot in the CD-22 race. The Secretary of State determined petitions submitted by Stockman failed to produce the 500 valid signatures required by state law. "Someone who couldn't find 500 people in a [in a district of 600,000 residents] probably wasn't going to have much of an impact," joked a spokesman for former Congressman Nick Lampson (D). In related news, US District Court Judge Sam Sparks has yet to rule whether or not the Republicans will be allowed to replace resigned Congressman Tom DeLay on the ballot. If the court finds DeLay intentionally "withdrew" from the contest, the GOP will not be allowed to replace him -- and then only Lampson and the Libertarian nominee will appear on the November ballot. If DeLay, however, was found to have been "disqualified" because of his move to Virginia, the GOP will be allowed to name a new replacement nominee. Although the Judge did not yet rule, during this week's hearing he openly remarked that DeLay apparently "withdrew" from the race. Stay tuned.
Pinch me, I think I'm dreaming.
However, Stockman's disqualification raises the risks considerably for Lampson--if the GOP is able to field a replacement candidate for DeLay, the conservative vote won't be as fractured without a Stockman candidacy. Depending on Judge Sparks' decision, this could either be a dream come true for Lampson, or a nightmare. We'll find out next week. (Hat tip to Christopher Walker.)
Update: Oh, right; I neglected to mention that Lampson could be facing DeLay again. The way I see it, there are three possibilities here: Lampson could face DeLay again, Lampson could face no serious opposition, or Lampson could face the TX GOP's replacement candidate. Obviously, either of the first two options are vastly preferable.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
TX-22: Tomfoolery Backfires?Posted by James L.
You've got to hand it to Tom DeLay. Facing abysmal chances in the November election against former Rep. Nick Lampson, DeLay took the opportunity to fall on his own sword by slinking off to Virginia in an attempt to give the TX GOP another window to nominate someone a little less, oh, you know, indicted. Even in (political) death, he never ceased to miss a chance to sock a Democrat in the stomach. You've got to give him that, at least.
Given that a party cannot nominate a new candidate after a primary election in Texas, DeLay chose a legal loophole: get the hell out of dodge so that he would be ineligible to run for Congress in Texas, rather than withdrawing his candidacy (which would have spelled the end for the Republican line on the TX-22 ballot). Texas Dems didn't take this sitting down, and filed a lawsuit to block the local GOP from scrubbing DeLay's name from the ballot. The conventional wisdom was that this was a stall tactic designed to irritate the local Republican cabal and prevent them from naming a challenger and raising funds for a few more precious weeks. However, based on the commentary of U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks, presiding over the case, it looks like there's a strong chance that DeLay may be forced to keep his name on the ballot (or withdraw it at his discretion). From the Houston Chronicle:
A federal judge hearing a ballot dispute Monday involving former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay said he thinks that DeLay withdrew from the November election, indicating potential trouble for Republicans who want to name a replacement candidate.
"He is not going to participate in the election and he withdrew," said U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks, who did not issue an official ruling after a daylong trial regarding DeLay's status as the GOP nominee for the 22nd Congressional District.
Jim Bopp, a lawyer for the Republican Party of Texas, disagreed, telling Sparks "there's been no withdrawal." Bopp said that instead, DeLay moved to Virginia, making him ineligible and triggering a state law that allows the party to select a new nominee.
Sparks also said that if political parties are allowed to replace primary election winners with more popular candidates, "the abuse would be incredible."
"It can happen in every race in this state for every office," Sparks said. The Republican judge said a ruling could come as early as next week.
From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
In his comments to lawyers, Sparks questioned whether a ruling for the Republicans might set a precedent allowing weakened candidates from both parties taking up short-term residency in other states so that a more formidable campaigner could be installed late in the game.
Sparks said he would review the histories of any similar cases and closely study the language in the Constitution before handing down his ruling. But he also said there was little doubt that DeLay had intended to withdraw from the race and that GOP leaders were hoping for a stronger candidate in the fall.
"Sometimes, you better watch out what you ask for," he told the GOP lawyer.
Sparks doesn't seem to be buying the spin that DeLay didn't withdraw. This could turn out to be a colossal embarrassment for national and state Republicans, and would have our homeboy, Nick Lampson, sitting mighty pretty.
(Hat-tip to Jesselee.)
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Tuesday Poll Round-Up: RI-Sen, RI-Gov, TX-Gov, TX-21Posted by James L.
Lots of polls lately to share. First off, there's some good news from Rhode Island, where Democrats are gaining momentum:
RI-Sen (Brown Univesity Poll, registered voters, February in parens):
Sheldon Whitehouse (D): 38 (35)
Lincoln Chafee (R-Inc.): 37 (40)
Undecided/Decline to answer: 25 (26)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D): 55 (44)
Steve Laffey (R): 25 (29)
Undecided: 20 (27)
RI-Gov (Brown, Feb. in parens):
Charles Fogarty (D): 39 (35)
Don Carcieri (R-Inc.): 44 (46)
The same poll shows President Bush with a dismal 20% approval rating, and a mediocre 51% for Senator Chafee. Whitehouse is really making a race of this one, and don't believe any spin you may hear that this is an unwinnable race if Laffey doesn't knock off Chafee in the Republican primary.
And some noise from Texas:
TX-Gov (SUSA, likely voters, May in parens):
Chris Bell (D): 20 (18)
Rick Perry (R-Inc.): 35 (41)
Kinky Friedman (I): 21 (16)
Carole Keeton Strayhorn (I): 19 (20)
Perry is clearly weak, but this is just such a clusterfuck of a race. Troublingly, Chris Bell is only getting 44% of the Democratic vote and losing broad swaths of white liberals to Kinky Friedman's quirky indie bid. I understand the position of a Texas Democrat who's reluctant to rally around the Bell campaign after seeing hopeless defeat after defeat at the statewide level for a decade, but with the field this fractured, a consolidated Democratic base could be a threat to Perry.
TX-21: The John Courage campaign writes in to share some weak numbers on Congressman Lamar Smith (one of Tom DeLay's biggest allies in Texas):
In a poll conducted by Lake Research Partners of 500 likely general election voters June 18-21, 2006, only 31% said that they would vote to re-elect Lamar Smith. (MoE +-4.4%)
This is an anemic number for an incumbent, as that number should on average be closer to 45-55%. The voters want change, and we've got a man of the people that is a teacher and a veteran who wants to be their representative.
Smith has a weak 49% personal favorability rating in this lean Republican district, and there's clearly room for Courage to mount a vigorous campaign against him.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
TX-14: Terrible Re-Elects for Ron Paul (R)Posted by DavidNYC
I admit I've been skeptical about claims that the race in TX-14 is a legit second-tier affair. But a new post by Charles Kuffner, covering the details of a poll taken for Shane Sklar (the Dem), might make start to reconsider:
Question: As things stand now, would you vote to reelect Ron Paul to Congress or do you think it is time to give someone new a chance?
Response: 33% Re-elect, 48% Someone New, 20% Undecided
Yes, it's an internal poll, and no, those 48% won't all go to Sklar - but that is seriously fugly for Ron Paul. Maybe these generic polls showing extreme dissatisfcation with Congress actually do mean something.
Now, in a straight-up head-to-head, Sklar gets crushed, 58-37. But he's only got 25% name rec, while Paul is at 88%. Sklar will need to raise quite a bit more money if he wants to get his ID up, but November is a long way off. And for Sklar, increasing his exposure is anything but a fool's errand, as that 48% figure for not-Ron-Paul indicates. Also, after the usual message-testing questions, the head-to-head turns into a 54-30 lead for Sklar. You never want to read too much into those sorts of things, but again, at least it shows room for growth.
Kuff agrees that it probably comes down to money for Sklar, and he thinks it'll take at least $500K to bump this race up to full second-tier status. One of the great things about Texas is that there are a lot of strong bloggers down there, led by Kuff himself, who's been blogging practically since the dawn of time (in Internet years). So we'll definitely have good intel on this race as it progresses.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
TX-28: Ciro's FEC Report Will Be AmendedPosted by DavidNYC
I'm told that Ciro's FEC report may have contained quite a few mistakes - to such an extent that Ciro actually has campaign debt, not any kind of surplus. I expect to see an amended report soon.
One thing that is in the current report is a $4200 donation to ActBlue. Ciro promised that, if there was no run-off, he'd donate the totals from his final online push to ActBlue, which deserves far more credit than it gets for making online fundraising simple and cheap. Ciro was true to his word, and helped ActBlue out after all the help they gave him. Kudos to Ciro for that.
TX-28: Ciro Rodriguez Still Has $330K Cash-on-HandPosted by DavidNYC
[UPDATE: It appears this post was based on a flawed campaign finance report. See here for more information.]
Yeah, the title is not a mis-print. Evidently, Ciro thought it would be wiser to save all that money for a run-off, which of course never happened. Is it 20-20 hindsight to carp about this now? I'm not sure. What I can tell you, though, is that Cuellar spent $1.1M on the race. Ciro spent a mere $422K. The campaign had to know it was being badly outspent.
A fair response here might be to say, What good would a run-off have been if Ciro had been flat broke? To that I can only observe that Ciro was doing far better in fundraising in the final weeks before the election. From 2/16 on, he raised $282K - Cuellar raised only $150K. If Ciro had held Cuellar to under 50%, I think that he (Ciro) would have continued his strong fundraising.
If anything, we knew (or should have known) that what Ciro really needed was more time, and a run-off would have given him some, whether he was broke or flush. You can't, as they say, take it with you. At least that $330K can now wind up in the hands of other deserving Democrats. Indeed, I daresay it had better.
(Hat tip: House Race Hotline.)
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
TX Runoff ResultsPosted by DavidNYC
With everyone (rightly) focused on CA-50, you might have forgotten that Texas held a run-off primary election today for a few races. A couple of these were somewhat interesting, and both bring good news.
In TX-Sen, Barbara Ann Radnofsky beat perpetual candidate Gene Kelly for the Dem nomination. Though Radnofsky has, charitably, a mega-super-uphill fight on her hands against incumbent Kay Bailey Hutchison, she's at least a serious candidate and will make Hutchison sweat a bit. (Kelley is 80 years old and refuses to make public appearances. His main claim to fame is that he has the same name as the famous - and dead - dancer.)
Also, in TX-10, Fighting Dem Ted Ankrum beat Paul Foreman. This district went 62-38 for Bush, so obviously we have to be realistic here. Nonetheless, I think Ankrum, like Radnofsky, probably stands a decent chance of forcing Michael McCaul to get off his duff and spend some time campaigning.
Several other state races also had run-offs. You can get complete results here.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
TX-22: Lampson Supports Special Election, Perry Doesn'tPosted by DavidNYC
In retrospect, this makes sense: Lampson has been building up name recognition and a big warchest. If a special election took place a month from now, any Republican opponents would be seriously lacking in both. By waiting until November, the GOP can rally around a single candidate and get him - whoever he is - up to cruising speed.
And of course, the answer is that there won't be a special, because Perry holds all the cards. He's under no legal obligation to call one - as I noted previously, it's entirely discretionary. In media-whore parlance, I've flip-flopped on the issue, but, in real life, I've simply admitted I was wrong. I now see the virtue of Lampson's position - not to mention the fact that TX-22 will have to go without representation for the better part of a year under Perry's plan.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
TX-22: Any Special Election is IllegitimatePosted by DavidNYC
Special elections ought to be held in special circumstances: If a candidate falls seriously ill, dies, or retires for a good reason early in an election cycle. When an incumbent uses legal loopholes to bail on his constituents late in the game, that most certainly does not qualify as an appropriate special circumstance.
Fortunately, Texas law recognizes that not all vacancies are created equal. The governor may choose whether or not to call a special election - holding one is not mandatory. Gov. Rick Perry must now exercise his discretion wisely and refuse to squander taxpayers' dollars on such a wasteful exercise. To do otherwise would be to blatantly serve the naked partisan purpose of forcing Nick Lampson, the Democrat, through two elections - and possibly three, since a special might require a run-off - in just a few months time.
Of course, I'm not naive - Perry will do whatever his Republican overlords tell him to do. Therefore, if he does call a special election, I think all Democrats - including Lampson - should boycott it completely. Don't run in it, don't vote in it, don't even talk about it. If the TX GOP wants to waste time and money on a special election, then we shouldn't accord the "winner" any legitimacy whatsoever. The real election - as it has been all along - is still in November, regardless of what the Texas Republicans try to do.
I realize this is a potentially radical and controversial path to take. But it's certainly far less radical than everything Tom DeLay has done to undermine democracy in Texas. Regardless of what DeLay does now, there only needs to be one election to determine who represents TX-22 in Congress, and that election will take place on November 7th, 2006 - and not a day earlier.
TX-22: Bugman Bugs OutPosted by DavidNYC
That, of course, should have been my original title last night. Anyhow, some more legal analysis on how DeLay might be replaced, from Rick Hasen:
With news that Tom DeLay is withdrawing from his House reelection contest, the question is what happens now in his race. It appears that the following is the applicable Texas law (putting aside any caselaw that might affect interpretation of these chapters):
Under Texas Election code section 1.005(7), DeLay was running in a 'General election for state and county officers' [, which] means the general election at which officers of the federal, state, and county governments are elected." Section 145.031 et. seq. set forth the rules for "a candidate who is a political party's nominee in the general election for state and county officers except a candidate for president or vice-president of the United States." DeLay is the party's nominee in a general election for state and county officers and he's not a candidate for president or vice president, so these rules apply.
Under 145.032, DeLay can withdraw because it is more than 74 days before election day. If he withdraws, under section 145.035, his name is omitted from the ballot. Under section 145.036, the political party's executive committee can only fill a vacancy under limited circumstances (such as catastrophic illness), none of which seem to apply to DeLay. So this route does not look like it would work for DeLay.
Instead, reports suggest he will move from Texas, thereby becoming ineligible to serve. (See section 145.003 on declaration of ineligibility.) If he is "ineligible" rather than "withdraws," section 145.036 gives the party the right to name a candidate to fill the vacancy.
There are also rumors that the governor could call a special election. Under 204.021, "An unexpired term in the office of United States representative may be filled only by a special election in the same manner as provided by Chapter 203 for the legislature, except that Section 203.013 does not apply." (203.013 sets forth a timetable for the election.) Chapter 203 sets forth the requirement of a special election, the requirement of a majority vote (meaning a runoff will be necessary if no candidate gets a majority of the vote), etc. But this would only apply to the unexpired term. There's this provision that appears to allow a replacement to run for the full term, but only if the vacancy occurs after the general election. So even if the governor calls a special election that chooses someone to serve out the rest of DeLay's current term, that does not appear to affect the nomination rules for the upcoming general election.
Slinking off to Virginia, tail tucked between legs, utterly defeated. The true Tom DeLay reveals himself.
(Tip to Adam B.)
Monday, April 03, 2006
TX-22: DeLay Retiring!Posted by DavidNYC
Commenters at DailyKos are saying that CNN & MSNBC are reporting that Tom DeLay is retiring. Can anyone confirm?
UPDATE: The banner on CNN confirms it. Now, to brass tacks. Can DeLay be replaced? At first blush, the answer looks like "no." Here's why I say that. The one part of the Texas Election Code which covers replacement can be found here. There's just one problem: I don't think it's applicable to House races. That's because §145.036 is governed by §145.031, which says:
APPLICABILITY OF SUBCHAPTER. This subchapter applies to a candidate who is a political party's nominee in the general election for state and county officers except a candidate for president or vice-president of the United States.
APPLICABILITY OF SUBCHAPTER. This subchapter applies to a candidate in a general or special election, except the general election for state and county officers.
However, this section of the code, while it permits for withdrawals, contains absolutely no provision for replacements. Yet I'm still baffled, because a number of the sub-sections that fall under the sway of 145.031 (which purportedly only applies to "state and county officers") specifically mention "district offices." This is the full definition of "district office":
"District office" means an office of the federal or state government that is not voted on statewide.
So maybe 145.031 applies only to state district offices? (There is no definition of "state office" in the definitions section of the election code.) That would mean that 145.091 governs federal district offices - a very strange way to do things. No matter what, this is all totally cockamamie. And it just goes to show you that when Republicans holler for judges to "apply the law as it's written," half the time you're left asking, "Well, what the hell does the law even say in the first place?"
So the real question is, did DeLay pull a Gallegly? I find that hard to believe. Then again, DeLay is accused of violating Texas election law, so maybe he's not too familiar with it. Somehow I doubt that Nick Lampson just waltzed into a freebie in TX-22, but who knows? I'm sure we'll know more as the night unfolds.
UPDATE: I think PantsB in comments just clarified everything. There is a specific definition for "general election for state and county officers," and it's a wee bit unexpected:
"General election for state and county officers" means the general election at which officers of the federal, state, and county governments are elected. (Emphasis added.)
So somehow, the phrase "state and county" includes "federal." Weird. Well, that would mean that §145.036 would definitely apply to DeLay, and a replacement can indeed be made.
Monday, March 20, 2006
TX-21: What Every Campaign Should HavePosted by DavidNYC
This post isn't really about TX-21, but it's inspired by that race. The Democratic challenger - a Fighting Dem by the name of John Courage - has put out a prospectus on himself and his race. It's a fantastic document. It's very professional-looking, it contains tons of detailed information, and above all, it answers a lot of common questions in advance. Simply put, every campaign needs something like this. If you have one of these ready to hand or e-mail to potential donors, endorsers, etc., you'll just look a lot more serious, and you'll be taken more seriously, too.
UPDATE: At the request of the Courage campaign, I've taken down the link to the document. If you're interested in seeing it, try contacting them.
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
TX-28: Post-Mortem RoundupPosted by DavidNYC
A few of the post-mortems on last night's election:
If you've read (or written) any other good post-mortems, please let us know in comments. As for me, I'm not sure I have much to add right now, though I may post my own thoughts later.
I do want to offer my enormous thanks to Tracy Joan. Live-blogging last night's results was just one of the many things she did for Ciro and the netroots. Though she had many other duties on the campaign, she still managed to keep the blogosphere tightly involved through an endless stream of diaries, e-mails, IMs and phone calls. I doubt that the Ciro-netroots relationship would have developed as strongly as it did without Tracy there to foster it. She defines hard work and commitment - and she did it all in excellent good cheer.
I'd also be remiss if I didn't thank Ciro as well. In politics, you wind up supporting lots of Democrats simply because they have a (D) after their names. It was truly a pleasure to get behind someone who made you happy to lend that support. So, thank you, Ciro, and thank you, Tracy, for everything you've done.
TX-28: A Statement from Ciro RodriguezPosted by Tracy Joan
This morning Ciro Rodriguez released the following statement:
“Last night we didn’t receive the outcome we had hoped for. The end result was true to the intentions of Tom Delay when he carved out this district for his friend — geographic rivalries won out over a true discussion of the issues for working families.
I congratulate Mr. Cuellar on his victory, however, and I hold no bitterness or ill will.
I do hope, however, that he takes seriously the message sent by over 47% of the voters — and by a community of progressive donors from across the country — that a Democratic congressman’s first responsibility is to stand up for the needs of seniors, of children and of working families.
Especially in South and Central Texas, where so many mothers and fathers have sacrificed their whole lives for their children, and so many veterans have answered the call of their country, we need a Democratic congressman to put his personal political ambitions aside and take a stand for Social Security, for quality, public schools, and for affordable health care for all.
The driving force behind our campaign was a group of volunteers who took such a stand — students, retirees, and working people from all parts of the District. For their commitment and dedication, Carolina and I will be forever grateful.
And I believe I speak for all our supporters and campaign team when I say that we were profoundly touched by the thousands of regular working families from throughout the country who helped fund our effort with their checks of $5, $10, and $20. They looked beyond geographic and cultural differences and sent a message that we are all Americans and that we must stand and act together to reclaim our government.
As educators, that inspiration will forever stay with Carolina and I as we take the next step in our lifelong commitment to public service.”
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Third TX Primary Results Open ThreadPosted by DavidNYC
Note: All times are local (Central) time.
[10:50 p.m.] Webb County's early voting results just came in (ie, not ballots cast today). They put Cuelllar into the lead for the first time tonight, 16,705 to 15,408.
[11:19 p.m.] (Tracy) We are still waiting here at the office for final totals.
[11:32 p.m.] An earlier comment of mine got over-written in the shuffle. I think it'll be a while before we get any more results in. But at this point, unfortunately, I don't see how Ciro can pull this one out. The bottom line is that, as I've often said, it's just damn hard to beat an incumbent.
[12:05 a.m.] (Tracy)
From Ciro to the netroots:
"As far as I am concerned we are in a run-off. We will be picking up our signs from the polls and re-using them in thirty days. Until we know exactly what happened today in Webb County, this race is not over.
"I wouldn't be here if I hadn't gotten the support of the online community. It's been overwhelming to see how people can make a difference, and make things happen by coming together, even if it an hour of blockwalking, a few phone calls or $20 and $40 dollars at a time. We must have the final word in who our leadership will be, not the special interests, and we must keep up this fight. I want to think the thousands who have given their time and resources to push this campaign forward.
"Thank you from the bottom of my heart for each and every kind word, dollar bill and one cent."
[12:09 p.m.] Very gracious words from Ciro. It's actually an hour later where I am on the East Coast right now, so I'm going to turn in. You're in Tracy's good hands for the rest of the night. (Thanks, Tracy!)
[12:30 a.m.]: In 2004 Webb results didn't come in until the next day. I am headed out of the office now and will check in later.
TX-28: Cuellar Improving in Every CountyPosted by DavidNYC
Some bad news. With 189 precincts reporting, I compared things to last time out (2004). Henry Cuellar is performing better in every county in TX-28 compared to the previous race:
The first column (2006) is Cuellar's county-by-county margin this year. The second column (2004) contains his margins from two years ago. The third column shows the delta - how much Cuellar improved by. As you can see, he's done better in every single county this time out. I have to say that at this point, I'm not sanguine about Ciro's chances once the Webb Co. results finally come in.
P.S. This only looks at the margin between Cuellar and Rodriguez and doesn't include Morales or anyone else, for either year. And obviously, I'm relying on incomplete data for a lot of the counties in 2006, so things could conceivably change.
Second TX Primary Results Open ThreadPosted by DavidNYC
Note: All times are local (Central) time.
[10:03 p.m.] Up to 159 precincts now, but the results are not much changed. Unfortunately, Webb is still at zero, and many of the precincts which haven't come in yet are from pro-Cuellar areas.
I should add that a couple of members of the Band of Brothers are facing primaries tonight: Duane Shaw in TX-01 and Ted Ankrum in TX-10.
[10:10 p.m.] An aside: The Swing State Project just clocked in its 2,000,000th visitor ever a few minutes ago. We reached 1 million only six months ago (and it took us nearly two years to reach that mark). Thanks, well, a million!
[10:16 p.m.] Does this even make any sense? From the Laredo Morning Times:
Because of a technical difficulty, results from the Democratic and Republican primaries have been delayed.
The machine built to read the personal electronic ballots was incorrectly programmed, and as a result the votes must be extracted from flash cards attached to each machine.
I don't understand that second paragraph at all. The first half of the sentence refers to one machine, singular. The second half refers to multiple machines. What on earth is going on here?
[10:20 p.m.] Congrats to the SSP on the success - it's fantastic to be a part of that.
I know everyone is playing the waiting game, refreshing those pages like crazy. I am juggling these updates with requests from old media with requests from other candidates, who are running in local elections who have decided to spend their evening here with Ciro awaiting their own results. Also noteworthy are the dozens of union members who have been working these streets everyday to try and get the Bexar County vote out.
Ciro is getting ready to go live on the 10:30 news here in town. More from here when it happens.
New TX Primary Results ThreadPosted by DavidNYC
Note: All times are local (Central) time.
[9:05 p.m.] DMN also seems to have faster results than the TX SoS. Here's the situation in TX-28:
Rodriguez: 7,754 (64.72%)
Cuellar: 3,351 (27.97%)
Morales: 875 (7.30%)
Precincts Reporting: 95
Total Precincts: 276
Rodriguez: 7,928 (64.24%)
Cuellar: 3,509 (28.43%)
Morales: 904 (7.33%)
Precincts Reporting: 112
Total Precincts: 276
[9:23 p.m.] Well, well, well. Looks like DMN got a bit ahead of itself. They are now claiming they have results from just 66 precincts (not 112, as stated earlier). Meanwhile, the SoS site is at 98 precincts.
[9:32 p.m.] (Tracy) Ciro just walked in to a load round of applause. The crowd is chanting his name as we continue to wait for the rest of the returns. There are loads of cameras and it is standing room only in what is a very large headquarters. SOS is reporting 35.14% in - still no word from Webb County.
[9:34 p.m.] Okay, this is getting a bit nutty. This SoS page (for TX-28 only) reports 128 precincts. However, this page (which lists all Dem races) says 143 precincts have come in. Which to believe? The latter page lists the current totals as follows:
Rodriguez: 11,269 (56.40%)
Cuellar: 7,304 (36.55%)
Morales: 1,408 (7.05%)
[9:40 p.m.] (Tracy) News out of Webb County continues to be confusing. There doesn't seem to be any word on when results will be coming through as technical difficulties persist.
[9:43 p.m.] The individual race page caught up and both now report 143 precincts. But man, that string of zeros after Webb County's name looks awfully, awfully... out of place. I'm reminded of the OH-02 special election, when Jean Schmidt's home region reported last, too. Remember this?
Schmidt led by less than 1 percent with 88 percent of the precincts in. But she must have felt secure in knowing that the only uncounted precincts were in Clermont County, her home.
[9:43 p.m.] (Tracy) The Rodriguez campaign has a team headed down to Webb County including campaign counsel and representatives. While this is happening Ciro is addressing the hundreds of supporters who have gathered at our headquarters on the South Side of San Antonio. A supporter just called in as well and asked if the banks in Laredo were closed.
TX-28: The ReturnsPosted by Tracy Joan
Note: All times are local (Central) time.
RESULTS [Updated 8:54 p.m.]
Precincts Reporting: 5
Total Precincts: 276
[7:30 p.m.] Some gossip:
According to Commissioner's Court sources in Webb County they are unable to report Early Voting because their systems are down.
Let's just hope Webb County doesn't wait to see the votes that they need to win before reporting. Locals claimed it has happened before.
[7:47 p.m.] I am sitting in a small war room, next to Chris Warshaw from DFA who spent most of the day working to Get Out the Vote for Ciro with DFA members here in the 28th.
[7:50 p.m.] Local news in Webb County are now reporting what you heard here, that their systems are down. Note: they use touch screen voting.
[7:53 p.m.] (Personal) I just got a call from Tim Tagaris, who showed me the ropes back in Ohio during the final days of Hackett's race, and I see Bob commenting here as well. These are two guys, along side the rest of the Hackett team trained me for this race and I hope I make them proud.
In the office the phone is ringing off the hook with calls from supporters, calls from poll watchers. Music is playing, food is everywhere and the mood seems generally festive.
[8:02 p.m.] Note that the numbers reporting are from early voting.
[8:11 p.m.] This place is starting to fill up. Early voting numbers are coming in now, we are still waiting to hear more about Webb County's voting systems.
[8:31 p.m.] So why does it take so long for results to come in? It takes about half an hour to shut down the machines. Plus, there are precinct comventions that begin after the polls close and this may delay the delivery of results to the county and then to the state if any of the folks attending the precinct conventions are also election judges.
(Personal): Just got some more good wishes from Joe Rospars on my first guest-blogging effort. Thanks, guys!
Also, note that I am NOT the spokesperson for the Rodriguez campaign tonight - I'm just a blogger capturing the excitement of this night, and following the results with you. Official statements will be clearly indicated as such.
[8:41 p.m.] More reports coming in about problems in Webb County. There might be a road trip in the near future.
[8:53 p.m.] Two representatives from the AFL-CIO have been sent to Webb County to deal with the developments.
TX-28: Live from Ciro’s Campaign Headquarters in San AntonioPosted by Tracy Joan
Note: All times are local (Central) time.
It is 5:45 and we have an hour and 15 minutes until the polls close on the first Primary of the 2006 cycle. You may have read some of my updates on this race over in the diaries at DailyKos or MyDD, but they have been pretty sporadic, so if you missed them, the short of it is that I have been working with Ciro Rodriguez in the 28th District since late January. Tonight, as we await the results of today’s Election, it’s my huge honor to bring you the results live from the campaign’s headquarters.
[6:58 p.m.] The polls are closing in a few minutes. Ciro is still out there, last I heard at a local high school poll site. The office is humming with preparations for an eveing watching the returns. Lots of food being prepared by our fantastic volunteers and a lot of tired feet. More very soon.
[7:05 p.m.] The polls are closed. Before I move to a new thread for the rest of the evenings results I want to make sure each and everyone of you know that this could never have transformed into the race it has become without the support of the progessive community. Not only has this campaign been the benefit of friends in national labor with the AFL-CIO and Change to Win Unions, the League of Conservation Voters, NARAL, DFA, MoveOn.org, and the thousands of readers who make the liberal blogosphere what it is day in and day out. That has been a crucial part of making this into a national cause and one that I know I am proud to be a part of.
Early vote numbers in Bexar County are starting to roll in.
(WITH 102 OF 102 PRECINCTS COUNTED)
Ciro D. Rodriguez. . . . . . . . 4,910 - - 73.39%
Henry Cuellar . . . . . . . . . 1,395 - - 20.85%
Victor Morales. . . . . . . . . 385 - - 5.75%
TX-28: Live-Blogging the Results from Campaign HQPosted by DavidNYC
Guys, an exciting announcement: It's my pleasure to let you know that Tracy Joan Russo - who wears many hats for Ciro's campaign, chief among them netroots outreach director - will be live-blogging the TX-28 results straight from campaign headquarters tonight, here at the SSP. Polls close at 7pm local time - we probably won't know much for at least an hour after that. But Tracy will be covering it all. So please give her a warm welcome! And let's go Ciro!
Texas Primaries Open ThreadPosted by DavidNYC
The truth, in signage:
Apparently, thanks to the Steelworkers, over a hundred of these signs have sprung up throughout the district overnight.
There are actually several important primaries taking place in Texas today, not just TX-28. In TX-22, we get to see how much damage gets done to Tom DeLay in his primary. In TX-17, there's also a GOP primary to take on Democrat Chet Edwards. The lone Republican Iraq veteran running for office, Van Taylor, is a candidate in that race. There are also Democratic primaries for TX-Sen and TX-Gov (in the latter race, I'm a fan of Chris Bell).
P.S. Polls close at 7pm CST (8pm Eastern).
Monday, March 06, 2006
TX-28: This Is Crunch TimePosted by DavidNYC
This is crunch time.
All campaigns eventually reach this point - the final few hours before the election, when every staffer, volunteer and supporter pushes as hard as he or she can. Get-out-the-vote operations are in full swing, field is working around the clock, the remaining undecideds are aggressively being courted. The last few boxes of literature are cut open, battle plans for election day are finalized.
That's today. No one will sleep tonight.
Tomorrow, the already-frenetic pace will get ratcheted up several notches. Phone bankers will call people all day reminding them to vote. Van drivers will ferry people to and from polling places non-stop from morning till night. The candidate will try to shake as many hands as possible as the daylight hours wane. And as the last flyer is finally handed out and the last voter casts her ballot, everyone has left their hearts on the field. In campaigns, it's the only way anyone knows.
I'm talking about people like Beatrice and Lupe, two grandmothers - age 77 and 71 - who have shown up to HQ every day to make calls for Ciro. They should be an example to us all - never, ever, ever stop fighting! And it's not too late to help, not at all.
• If you haven't contributed yet, the campaign could still use your help. There's a strong possibility that this race will go to a run-off (which would take place on April 11th). If it does, Ciro will need plenty of cash. If there is no run-off, Ciro has said he'll donate all of today's proceeds to ActBlue.
• If you can't volunteer in person, join the virtual phone-banking brigades. Calling is fun and easy.
Like I say, this is crunch time - but we may yet go into overtime. So be ready for anything. But no matter what, tomorrow will be an exciting day.
Weekly Open Thread: What Races Are You Interested In?Posted by DavidNYC
With the Texas primaries on Tuesday, I'm having a hard time thinking about anything but TX-28. Same with you?
Sunday, March 05, 2006
TX-28: Early Voting Looks to Favor CiroPosted by DavidNYC
Early voting has concluded in the Texas primaries. Chuco, in a DKos diary, crunches the numbers. He compares turnout this cycle vs. 2004:
Webb County (Cuellar's base): Decrease of 2.5%
Bexar County (Rodriguez's base): Increase of 7.3%
Cucho points out a few other salient facts:
• A hot sherrif's race in Laredo (Webb Co.) last cycle increased turnout and helped Cuellar. No such luck for him this time.
• Cuellar's performance in Webb Co. might actually be weaker than the numbers indicate. That's because a contested county commissioner's race in Webb may be driving up overall county turnout this year - but that commissioner's district doesn't overlap with TX-28 at all.
• On the flipside, Ciro's showing may well be stronger. People are turning out for a major state senate race in the San Antonia area (which is in Bexar Co.). Unlike the commissioner's race, this senate district does overlap with TX-28.
Thursday, March 02, 2006
TX-28: Clearly to the RightPosted by DavidNYC
Because a picture is worth a thousand votes:
(Source: CQ Weekly, subscription only.)
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
TX-28: Michael Schiavo's TerriPAC Sends Contribution to CiroPosted by DavidNYC
In the wake of Congress's obscene intrusion into his family's personal affairs, Michael Schiavo decided to take action. He created TerriPAC (named after his late wife) to help make sure that the kind of politicians who saw fit to play politics with his wife's life get defeated - and to help those politicians who respect personal and medical privacy.
Henry Cuellar, you won't be surprised to learn, falls into the former category. When Terry Schiavo's last days should have been spent in quiet dignity, Cuellar instead sided with Bill Frist in treating her like a political football. Michael Schiavo has therefore decided to support Ciro Rodriguez, and he's directed TerriPAC to make a contribution to him.
I should add that even Frist has since acknowledged he was wrong to support the federal government's intrusion on a personal family matter. I haven't heard a single apologetic word from Cuellar.
TX-28: Poll Shows Tight Race; Big Mo' for Ciro; Runoff LikelyPosted by DavidNYC
Sports fans, it's late - and it's close. I've just gotten my hands on a new internal poll from the Rodriguez campaign, and the results are hugely exciting (primary voters, Oct. in parens):
Rodriguez: 34 (30)
Cuellar: 39 (45)
Morales: 8 (?)
Undecided: 19 (10)
Ciro goes up, Cuellar goes down. A fifteen point gap closes to just five. That's an enormous improvement from October, and you can be sure that we (remember, Ciro's special interest friends?) had a big hand in that.
Getting down to brass tacks: If no candidate wins 50%-plus-one, then we go to a run-off, which would take place on April 11th. That's looking fairly likely right now because of the presence of newcomer Victor Morales (who was not included in the October poll). So yes, this means that, in all likelihood, we get right back up again on March 8th and fight this one out for another month. The good news is that all the momentum will be with Ciro, and the vast majority of Morales voters will break his way, too.
Friday, February 24, 2006
TX-28: Ciro Has More Cash-on-Hand Than CuellarPosted by DavidNYC
From pre-primary FEC reports released today, which cover the period of Jan. 1 through Feb. 15:
Rodriguez Cash-on-Hand: $257K
Cuellar Cash-on-Hand: $208K
Rodriguez Total Raised: $272K
Cuellar Total Raised: $319K
The picture is actually even better for Rodriguez. Since the end of this reporting period, the campaign has raised another $170K - and that was as of two days ago. I'm sure that the newest total is higher still. Ciro has the money to compete, and the money to win.
But oh wait, what was the Cuellar campaign saying just a couple of weeks ago?
Strother, Cuellar’s campaign spokesman, does not expect Rodriguez to bring in the funds he would need to legitimately compete in the waning days of the race....
Oops - wrong! Now Cuellar's changed his tune, though. Instead of saying that Ciro won't have enough money, he's attacking the people giving him money. Ah, that would be us:
“Ciro and his special interest friends have arrived at the 11th hour and we think there will be a strong voter backlash to their vitriol,” said Colin Strother, the general consultant to Cuellar’s campaign.
You know you've really riled someone but good when they start calling you "special interests." Of course, we here in the blogosphere are the farthest thing from a special interest group - we're just ordinary citizens trying to make a difference. Go ahead and attack us. It just makes us want to support Ciro more.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
TX-28: Kerry Endorses Ciro; Campaign's Raised $440K+ Since Jan. 1Posted by DavidNYC
I just got a press release from the Rodriguez campaign. Sen. John Kerry is endorsing Ciro, plus he's also backed that up with a contribution. And check out this list of current Members of Congress who are all supporting Ciro as well:
Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)
Congressman Charles Gonzales (D-TX)
Congressman Gene Greene (D-TX)
Congressman Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ)
Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)
Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA)
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)
Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)
Congressman John P. Murtha (D-PA)
Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (D-CA)
Congressman David R. Obey (D-WI)
Congressman Solomon Ortiz (D-TX)
Congressman Edward Pastor (D-AZ)
Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY)
Congressman Sylvester Reyes (D-TX)
Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)
Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-CA)
Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-CA)
Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis (D-CA)
Congressman Ted Strickland (D-OH)
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA)
I count twenty-one, plus Kerry. I wonder how many Henry Cuellar's got backing him?
P.S. Markos has an update from the campaign on how much they've raised since the start of the year. So far, it comes to over $440K - not too shabby for a campaign that most people weren't paying attention to just weeks ago. And that figure does not include independent expenditures by groups like the LCV. So our side's total firepower is actually much greater than that number alone.
UPDATE: Ciro on Majority Report on Air America Radio tonight at 7:45pm.
TX-28: It's All About the Company You KeepPosted by DavidNYC
The Club for Growth got the Washington Times to pimp the $150 large it's tossed Cuellar's way. Is that really a wise move? It's sort of like the old "troll goal" on Blog for America - every time we hear that this uber-winger organization is helping Cuellar, it makes us support Ciro even more.
Meanwhile, who else has got Ciro's back? The League of Conservation Voters, as you well know. And today, they upped the ante, making Cuellar the inaugural member of their ignominious "Dirty Dozen" list. From an e-mail:
The League of Conservation Voters (LCV), the independent political voice for the environment, today named Representative Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) as the first member of its 2006 “Dirty Dozen” list of anti-environmental candidates. LCV also announced that it will run an aggressive, multi-layered independent campaign to defeat Rep. Cuellar and help elect Ciro Rodriguez in the March 7th Democratic primary for Texas’ 28th Congressional District.
Rep. Cuellar, who earned an abysmal 33% on LCV’s 2005 National Environmental Scorecard, voted against the environment on a number of occasions last year, including voting with indicted Rep. Tom DeLay to let MTBE polluters off the hook for drinking water contamination, and opposing real, clean energy solutions, such as fuel efficiency for automobiles. He also supported the deeply flawed Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which threatens clean air and water standards for Central American nations – one of the world’s most biologically diverse regions.
Oh, and a few more details on the LCV's pro-Ciro campaign. It's not just TV ads:
LCV’s independent campaign includes television ads to begin airing on Friday, as well as direct mail, phone banking and door-to-door canvassing.
If you didn't know anything else about this race, but you knew that the CFG was supporting one guy while the LCV was backing another, that would tell you everything you needed to know. Like I say, it's all about the company you keep.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
TX-28: League of Conservation Voters Doing $50K Ad Buy in LaredoPosted by DavidNYC
Some sweet news straight from the campaign: The League of Conservation Voters - which endorsed Ciro Rodriguez last week - is putting its money where its mouth is. The LCV is putting up $50,000 worth of ads in the Laredo, TX television market. I am very excited to see another serious establishment player get involved in this race. And give Henry Cuellar's abysmal voting record on the environment, it only makes sense.
TX-28: Cuellar's Terrible Environmental RecordPosted by DavidNYC
Last week, the League of Conservation Voters endorsed Ciro Rodriguez over Henry Cuellar. Today, they've released their 2005 environmental scorecard. Not surprisingly, Cuellar's record is wretched. In fact, of Texas Dems, he's tied for the worst score, voting the right way just 33% of the time. By contrast, Ciro had ratings of 61, 68 and 77 in the prior three sessions of Congress - a darn sight better than Cuellar, and one of the better records in Texas.
P.S. Early voting begins today in Texas. If you live in the 28th CD, cast your ballot for Ciro now!
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
TX-28: League of Conservation Voters Endorses RodriguezPosted by DavidNYC
Good news (via an e-mail):
The League of Conservation Voters (LCV), the independent political voice for the environment, today announced its endorsement of Ciro Rodriguez in the March 7th Democratic primary in Texas’ 28th Congressional District, citing his impressive environmental credentials during his previous service in the House of Representatives.
“LCV is proud to endorse Ciro Rodriguez in the Democratic primary,” said LCV Western Campaign Director Andy Schultheiss. “Mr. Rodriguez’s environmental record is head and shoulders above Representative Henry Cuellar’s record.”
Mr. Cuellar, on the other hand, voted against the environment on a number of occasions last year, including voting with Tom DeLay to let MTBE polluters off the hook for drinking water contamination and opposition to real, clean energy solutions, such as fuel efficiency for automobiles.
Why am I not surprised that, in addition to everything else, Cuellar has a horrible environmental record?
If Ciro is to win this primary, he'll need the help of the big boys. The blogosphere can only do so much - but we did what we are best designed to do. We helped generate widespread attention to this race and provided some "angel" money. In other words, we got the ball rolling. (Chemists would say that we provided the "activation energy.") Now it's up to the established players to bring in the big guns and help seal the deal.
That doesn't mean we here in blog-land are finished working - to the contrary. We need to keep focusing on this race so that we can convince other major organizations to get involved. Also, today is an FEC filing deadline for the campaign, so please consider contributing so that Ciro can file a bang-up report.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
TX-28: Could Cuellar Switch Parties?Posted by DavidNYC
In my opinion, no.
Background: Rep. Henry Cuellar is a Bush-worshipping "Democrat" who is facing former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez - a bonafide Dem - in a primary on March 7th. There's some speculation these days that Cuellar might try to switch parties, especially if he loses the primary - and indeed, I bet he wants to.
However, he's out of luck this year. I spent some time tonight reviewing Texas election law, and here's what I can tell you:
• The filing deadline to run as a Republican or a Democrat was Jan. 2nd. When you file, you specifically have to pick a particular party - you can't file for one party and then switch to another after the filing date. (See Rep. Ralph Hall, who switched his affiliation in 2004 on literally the last day possible before the filing date.)
• The filing date for independent candidates is in May - but (and this is a big "but") you need to have already filed a "Declaration of Intent to Run as an Independent Candidate" by Jan. 2nd. Don't worry, Cuellar doesn't have a secret indy declaration in his back pocket - you can't file for the same office twice.
Cuellar could run as a write-in candidate, but of course, his name wouldn't appear on the ballot. (The only time I can think of a write-in candidacy ever working was the bizarre situation in DC a few years ago involving Mayor Anthony Williams and a botched petition.) There are also provisions for replacing candidates, but the Texas GOP hasn't fielded anyone in the 28th CD, so there's no one Cuellar could even replace.
So, assuming my reading of the law is correct, if Cuellar loses the primary, he's screwed in 2006. However, I'm sure he'll land on his feet, netting a nice appointed Republican gig somewhere, until he can run for office again. If he wins the primary (which means he basically automatically wins the general), then I'd expect Cuellar to switch parties, probably after the elections in November.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
TX-28: Il Bacio Della MortePosted by DavidNYC
Ah, the kiss of death:
That's George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States, giving a big ol' smooch to Rep. Henry Cuellar, the first-ever "Democrat" endorsed by the Club for Growth. If and when he's beaten in the primary by former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Cuellar switches parties. Of course, the TX filing deadline has passed, but I'm sure the GOP could, you know, work something out.
(Thanks to reader Tracy for the tip. Photo credit to Rich Lipski of the Washington Post.)
Sunday, January 15, 2006
TX-22: Lampson Leading in Wide-Open PollPosted by DavidNYC
An interesting - if hard-to-read - poll on TX-22 from the Houston Chronicle (registered voters, no trendlines):
Steven Stockman is a former one-term GOP Congressman (swept in in `94, booted in `96 by Nick Lampson, actually) who is thinking about a possible independent challenge to DeLay. Presumably, he'd drawn Republican votes from the Bugman.
With crazy numbers like these - nearly 40% not even expressing a preference - it would probably be a mistake to read too much into this poll, at least as far as the horserace numbers go. But the Chron asked several other relevant questions. DeLay's favorability rating is a brutal 28-60. (Sixty? Ouch!) And 47% of respondents said he should withdraw from the race (vs. 40% who said he should stay in). That would actually be a bad thing for Lampson, as TX-22 is a very Republican district and Tom DeLay is by far the most beatable candidate he could face.
Wackily, DeLay only gets 21% in a question on the GOP primary (there are some Republicans running against him), with 68% undecided. Perhaps district voters are just unaccustomed to having to vote for DeLay in a primary - but perhaps it's also a sign of tremendously weak support among his putative base. That 21% is identical to his total in the general election matchup. Incumbents lose primaries even more rarely than they lose general elections, so I really, truly doubt that DeLay could get knocked off in a primary. But this number is really startling, and must be giving him indigestion.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
TX-22: Petard-Hoisting Edition: How Much Bluer Did DeLay's District Get?Posted by DavidNYC
One seemingly delightful storyline relating to Tom DeLay's illegal mid-decade redistricting scheme goes like this: By making several other districts more Republican, DeLay made his own more Democratic, thus endangering his own electoral safety. The thought alone makes images of golden petards dance through your head. But just how true is this claim, though?
The New York Times weighs in, citing unnamed political analysts who claim that TX-22 got about five percent more Dem. But any good arithmetic teacher wants you to show your work, which the NYT naturally can't do because of space considerations. However, Evan (at Tom Delay vs. The World) has done exactly that. And his conclusions are a little less rosy:
New parts of CD22 voted 51.8% GOP in 2002 congressional races, and 49.6% GOP in 2000 congressional races. The parts DeLay gave up in new CD22: 62.1% GOP in 2002 congressional races, and 56.2% GOP in 2000 congressional races.
The bottom line: DeLay's new district is about 2-3% less Republican than it used to be. Redistricting removed areas that voted around 60% GOP and added areas that vote around 50% GOP.
Yes, we're only talking about a disagreement over a couple or three percentage points, but in a tight race, that can matter a whole hell of a lot. Either way, though, DeLay's district did not change dramatically. Nick Lampson still has huge hurdles to overcome. Even after the DeLay-mander, this district went for Bush 64-36. There aren't many redder districts currently represented by a Dem.
As Evan points out in the same post, DeLay underperformed in 2004. It's possible that this was due to Richard Morrison's insurgent campaign, or DeLay's budding ethical problems. But it also may have been due to the fact that almost a third of the voters in the redrawn TX-22 were new to Tom DeLay. While (a) the ethics issues are far, far worse, and (b) the challenger is much stronger, on the flip-side, (c) DeLay is no longer unfamiliar to those voters. We'll have to see if A + B outweigh C this time around.
Saturday, January 07, 2006
Kuff on the Texas House RacesPosted by DavidNYC
This is why I love the blogosphere. Charles Kuffner's comment on the Texas House races is worthy of its own post:
1. Sklar is going against Ron Paul in CD14. Paul ran unopposed in 2004 in a fairly new-to-him district, and he's nobody's idea of a moneybags - last I checked he had something like $150K on hand. Sklar is a farmer, something that the Texas Congressional delegation now lacks without Charlie Stenholm and Larry Combest, so he ought to get some support from ag interests. He's already got the Texas Farm Bureau endorsement.
2. Lamar Smith ran against a no-name perennial candidate (Rhett Smith, who is now on the GOP (!) primary ballot for Governor; he also ran for San Antonio Mayor last year) and barely achieved parity with the district's GOP index. He carried Travis County (Austin) by a 50-46 spread (there was another candidate in the race as well), and it's about 40% of the district. If Courage can win Travis and hold his losses in Bexar County, he can win.
3. Former right-wing wackjob Congressman Steve Stockman, who ousted 40-year veteran Jack Brooks in 1994 before being dumped by Nick Lampson in 1996, has entered the CD22 race as an independent. He may provide an attractive alternative for some wingnut voters. Hard to say, since he's been mostly below radar since 1998, and because he's such a freaking nut that predicting what he'll do is a fool's errand, but it's a favorable development for Lampson.
4. Finally, Bush's support in any district is a slight overstatement of GOP strength there, as he generally outperformed all other Republican candidates. The performance of the three other statewide Republicans (Victor Carillo, who won Railroad Commissioner 55.5-41-3.5 against a D and a Lib; Scott Brister, who won a State Supreme Court seat against David Van Os by a 59-41 margin; and Mike Keasler, who won a spot on the Court of Criminal Appeals 58-42) is IMHO a better measure of Republicanness in a district.
You can keep track of all Texas races at Texas Tuesdays. If you have an interest in any race, we welcome your input - it's a CivicSpace blog, so create an ID and join in. Thanks!`
You can also visit Charles at his own blog, Off the Kuff.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Texas House RacesPosted by DavidNYC
With the field set in Texas, Charles Kuffner (who pens the excellent Off the Kuff, which has been around practically since the birth of the blogosphere) e-mails me to tell me which House races he thinks are going to be among the most interesting:
• TX-14: Shane Sklar vs. incumbent Ron Paul (Bush-Kerry: 67-33)
• TX-21: John Courage vs. incumbent Lamar Smith (Bush-Kerry: 61-39)
• TX-22: Nick Lampson vs. incumbent Tom DeLay (Bush-Kerry: 64-36)
As Kuff notes - and as the 2004 presidential margins make clear - these will all be tremendously difficult races, and winning even one would be terrific. I'll also add that even in big landslide years like 1994, you're lucky to see even 10% of incumbents lose (it's always much easier to win open seats). But to even have a chance, you've got to compete, and that's exactly what the Texas Dems are doing. Kuff also thinks we've got great candidates in several other races, and you never know where surprises can happen.
Speaking of which, on the state level in Texas, we are seriously kicking ass. Almost three times as many Republican incumbents are facing challengers as Dems. This just goes to show that you should never, ever write off a particular state just because it looks hopeless on the presidential level. Politics goes way beyond the race for the White House. Dean's fifty-state strategy looks like it's already paying dividends.
Lastly, Kuff points us to a new single-district blog: Tom DeLay vs. The World. The name alone is a great frame, and I look forward to reading the blog.
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
TX: 31 of 32Posted by DavidNYC
Impressive! As of today's filing deadline, Texas Dems have managed to field candidates in 31 of 32 House races this year. (That's 20 out of 21 GOP-held seats, the lone exception being TX-11, which is the most Republican district in the nation.) In 2004 - a much bigger election year, what with the presidential race and all - four seats went uncontested. Hats are off to quite a few intrepid challengers, who are running in districts that Bush won with over 70% of the vote. But like I say, we've got to expand the playing field. Every weekend a Republican incumbent has to spend in his home district is a weekend he could have been out fundraising for a colleague.
Monday, December 19, 2005
Illinois House Races: Batting a ThousandPosted by DavidNYC
According to frequent SSP commenter RBH, Steve Waterworth officially filed to run in Illinois' 18th CD today, the last possible day to do so. This means that all eight Republican Congressmembers in IL have Democratic challengers. Great work! Waterworth, an Air Force vet, joins the impressively long list of Fighting Dems to run for office this year.
Next up is Texas, which has a January 2nd filing deadline. Things there are not looking quite so good. The DCCC's site lists 11 GOP-held seats without a Dem challenger; Barry Welsh's page shows potential challengers in three of those seats, but apparently, they haven't filed.
If you're even remotely considering running for one of these seats (1, 2, 3, 8, 11, 12, 13, 23, 24, 26, 32), please go here and check out the Texas Democratic Party's checklist for running for office. The main things you'll need are either $3,125 for a filing fee or 500 signatures. Obviously both of those are pretty sizable hurdles - it's a lot of cash, or a lot of signatures on very short notice, during the holidays. (On the flipside, you might be able to snag large throngs outside of malls and the like.)
Just one thing to think about: It's pretty much impossible to get a candidate on the ballot after a filing deadline has passed. But it's usually a lot easier to switch candidates if you already have a name on the ballot. So if you live in one of those Texas districts and have the time or money to get on the ballot, but aren't really sure you want to run for office, your presence as a place-holder is just as important.
TX-02 (Beaumont/Houston Burbs)
TX-12 (Fort Worth Burbs)
TX-24 (in-between Dallas and Fort Worth, probably Arlington too)
TX-26 (Denton/Flower Mound/Parts of Fort Worth)
Monday, December 05, 2005
TX-22: Delay Getting Crushed by "Democrat"Posted by DavidNYC
Tim at the DNC has word of a new CNN/Gallup poll on the race to unseat Tom DeLay (registered voters, no trendlines):
Nick Lampson is Tom DeLay's only Dem opponent, so I don't know why Gallup didn't just use his name. But nonetheless, this is very encouraging news for our side, especially coming on the same day as a judge refusing to throw out money-laundering charges against DeLay. (I thought the judge's decision on the conspiracy charge was absurd, but I'll take what I can get.)
Though generic party names tend to poll better than individuals, bear this in mind: The poll also found DeLay with a 37-52 favorability rating. And this is in a district that Bush won over Kerry by 64-36. Youch! (A little aside: This district got less Republican after Tom DeLay's illegal redistricting scheme got forced through. DeLay gave up some of his Republican voters for other neighboring districts. In 2000, TX-22 went for Bush over Gore 67-33.)
Bottom line: Tom DeLay is out as majority leader, and soon enough, he's gonna be out of Congress altogether. Hell, maybe he'll follow the Dukester's lead and just bail now.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
TX-22: DeLay's Leadership Spot Looking DiceyPosted by DavidNYC
According to Hotline On Call, Denny Haster told Tom DeLay that he'd hold the wolves at bay until the new year. That is, no leadership election would be held to permanently replace DeLay as majority leader if he extricated himself from legal trouble by January. DeLay had his fingers crossed that the judge overseeing his case would dismiss the charges, but no such luck.
The fact is, criminal charges are very rarely dismissed before trial. Why? A judge can't reach a decision on the facts - that's the jury's job. (Unless you've waived your right to a jury trial.) So that means a charge can only be dismissed if somehow it's malformed (eg, doesn't include a necessary element of the crime), or if there is no way any reasonable jury could ever convict (eg, the activity simply isn't covered by the charge in question). Neither are mistakes that a competent, experienced prosecutor like Ronnie Earle is likely to make. On that basis, I feel like Hotline should probably not have passed along anonymous, self-serving spin with apparently no legal or factual arguments to back it up.
Anyhow, at best that bit of misdirection from Tom DeLay bought him a single day, because the judge said that he wouldn't rule on the motion to dismiss the charges until at least December, and that a trial wouldn't be possible until January. So that means DeLay will lose his leadership post - an extra embarassment to deal with in his race against Nick Lampson. If you are interested in the inside baseball of the Republican majority leader race, check out that first Hotline post linked above.
Friday, October 21, 2005
TX-22: Tom DeLay Perp WalkPosted by Bob Brigham
Majikthise flew into Austin to blog the perp walk. She has photos and on-the-ground insight.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
TX-22: Texas Command to Arrest Tom DeLayPosted by Bob Brigham
From the Arrest Warrant:
THE STATE OF TEXAS
TO ANY SHERIFF OR PEACE OFFICER OF THE STATE OF TEXAS; GREETINGS: YOU ARE HEREBY COMMANDED TO ARREST:
THOMAS DALE DELAY
Greetings to Tom DeLay, enjoy your attempt at re-election.
TX-22: Warrant Issued for Tom DelayPosted by Bob Brigham
Republican Congressman and de-throned Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay is facing a perp walk in Texas:
AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas court issued a warrant Wednesday for former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to appear for booking, where he is likely to face the fingerprinting and photo mug shot he had hoped to avoid.
Bail was initially set at $10,000 as a routine step before his first court appearance on conspiracy and money laundering charges. Travis County court officials said DeLay was ordered to appear at the Fort Bend County jail for booking.
The warrant was "a matter of routine and bond will be posted," DeLay attorney Dick DeGuerin said.
The lawyer declined to say when DeLay would surrender to authorities but said the lawmaker would make his first court appearance Friday morning.
Tom "The Hammer" DeLay is facing life in prison for his role in the Republican Party culture of corruption.
The smart money is being contributed to Nick Lampson, who is on track to beat Representative DeLay is 2006.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
TX-10: Ted Ankrum Running Against Culture of CorruptionPosted by Bob Brigham
In 2004, Michael McCaul won the Texas 10th Congressional District, spending almost $3 million even though he was unopposed. As a freshman congressman in a corrupt Republican Party, his 2006 re-election campaign will be the time his is most vulnerable. This year, he isn't going to run unopposed. Democrat Ted Ankrum is challenging Congressman McCaul and has first hand knowledge of Tom DeLay's Culture of Corruption:
I have personal experience of Tom Delay's abuse of power. I was in charge of Environmental Compliance at NASA Hq. in Washington, DC in 1989, when I directed Johnson Space Center to use a type of equipment that would not damage the Earth's ozone layer in their project to replace the giant centralized air conditioning equipment, there. I promptly got a call from Tom Delay, who asked me to rescind that direction so that a business crony could bid on the contract with equipment that used a chemical banned by the Montreal Treaty to save the Earth's ozone layer. I refused. He called my then-boss, Dr. Howard Robbins, the Associate Administrator for Management, to overrule me. Howard said it was my call. For the next two weeks, I received nearly daily calls from a Delay staffer insisting that I change my mind, and my boss got calls from Tom Delay asking for my removal. It didn't stop until I asked the staffer if he wanted to read about it in the Washington Post. I succeeded in standing up to Tom Delay, then, because he wasn't the House Majority Leader. I wouldn't have stood a chance, last month. I'm running for many reasons, not the least of them being the culture of abuse of power among the current Congressional Leadership.
Could get interesting.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
TX-08: Rep. Kevin Brady (R) Arrested for DWIPosted by DavidNYC
A Texas congressman and distinguished USD alum faces DWI charges. U.S. Representative Kevin Brady was born in Vermillion and received a degree from the University of South Dakota in 1990.
Brady was back at USD as one of six former students receiving an Alumni Achievement Award. His homecoming visit ended in jail Friday night.
Highway patrol manpower was beefed up for homecoming, but Brady wasn't stopped at a checkpoint. He was arrested just before midnight during a regular traffic stop just 100 feet from his hotel.
"The type of violation that we stop for literally hundreds of times each year," says highway patrol Capt. Jeff Talbot. (Emphasis added.)
Hundreds of times a year, ay? Well, at least once every year or two a Republican Congressmen get nailed on the streets of South Dakota. Why, surely you didn't forget this guy, did you? Brady, fortunately, didn't kill anyone, like Bill Janklow did. And while I wish I could say that the two might be so lucky as to share a cell, Jankie has long since flown the coop. But perhaps they'll have the same parole officer.
Since you were wondering, TX-08 is bitterly conservative - Brady won by 40% his last time out. But don't be disappointed. Even if his district is out of reach, I'm sure he's one of those sinecured back-benchers who previously spent all his time raising money for his colleagues. Now, at least he'll be out of that racket, because who would want some schmuck with a DWI arrest shilling for them? Oh wait, this is the GOP we're talking about - so probably the lot of them.
(Via Josh Marshall.)
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
TX-22: Tom DeLay Facing Life in PrisonPosted by Bob Brigham
There is a major political battle brewing in the twenty-second congressional district of Texas where embattled Republican
Majority Leader Congressman Tom DeLay is being challenged by former Congressman Nick Lampson.
Last spring, this race looked competitive because everyone knew Rep. Tom DeLay was crooked. Then this race catapulted because Tom DeLay was indicted for conspiracy to committ crookedness. Yesterday, DeLay was indicted again, this time for money laundering with a bonus charge of conspiring to launder money.
And now DeLay's trickster lawyers have him looking at life in prison:
A bit of a chess game is developing in Texas, as Ronnie Earle attempts to make Tom DeLay pay for his sins. First, we had an indictment on conspiracy, a charge which carries a penalty of six months to two years in jail. "Conspiracy!" Republican operatives mocked. "This is just a conspiracy against Tom DeLay." And really, people said, conspiracy is just what you charge when you've got nothing better.
But then DeLay lawyer Dick Deguerin, who embarrassed Ronnie Earle in the Kay Bailey Hutchison case, files a motion to say the conspiracy statue didn't apply to campaign finance law in TX until September 2003, a year after DeLay dreamt up his little conspiracy.
Wham!! Just a few hours later, Earle (who seems to have snuck a new grand jury into his back pocket without Deguerin noticing) gets a jury to indict on money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Charges which carry sentences of up to life in prison for the money laundering charge, and twenty years for the conspiracy to commit money laundering.
So DeLay's lawyers had a client looking at 2 years and their expert legal maneuvering positioned their client to now be looking at life behind bars?
Back in Sugar Land, the Democratic candidate for congress is letting the courts and the national media give Congressman DeLay his due. Reports indicate Nick Lampson is keeping his focus on running hard for the Texans in the district, instead of just running against DeLay.
Here is Lampson's statement:
"We always knew ethics would be an issue for Tom DeLay, but I cannot make that the entire basis of my campaign. I now have to work even harder to get my agenda out to the voters of this district, and present a positive alternative to Congressman DeLay. I will campaign on a return to fiscal discipline, service to constituents and security for Southeast Texans. Ethics will inevitably be a part of this race, but it will be up to the judicial system to decide whether or not Tom DeLay is guilty."
Indeed, the judicial system will decide whether DeLay is guilty of corruption, but the voters are already making up their minds about whether Tom DeLay is crooked.
DeLay's re-election campaign will be one of the most expensive in the nation and is anchored in a high-dollar media market. But if Nick Lampson has enough money to get out his message, Tom DeLay's past will continue to fuel the ethical fires consuming the Republican Party.
Monday, October 03, 2005
TX-22: Tom DeLay Indicted AgainPosted by Tim Tagaris
This time, for money laundering:
A Texas grand jury indicted Rep. Tom DeLay on a new charge of money laundering Monday, less than a week after another grand jury leveled a conspiracy charge that forced DeLay to temporarily step down as House majority leader.
Both indictments accuse DeLay and two political associates of conspiring to get around a state ban on corporate campaign contributions by funneling the money through a political action
committee to the Republican National Committee in Washington.
I've been away for much of the day, so I haven't seen anything on the television, but the report is from the AP, fwiw. USA Today runs with the story as well.
UPDATE (Tim): Looks like it was an altogether different grand jury as well
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
TX-22: Tom DeLay IndictedPosted by Bob Brigham
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay indicted on one count of criminal conspiracy by Texas grand jury, according to Travis County clerk's office.
Tom DeLay is the poster boy for the Republican Culture of Corruption.
UPDATE (Tim): The media has already started consistently placing the word "Democrat" before the name of prosecutor Ronnie Earle in an attempt to perpetuate the Republican meme that the indictment is a "partisan witch hunt." It would be helpful for media-types to consider this nugget from the Houston Chronicle:
During his long tenure, Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle has prosecuted many more Democratic officials than Republicans. The record does not support allegations that Earle is prone to partisan witch hunts.
The charge, a state jail felony punishable by up to two years incarceration, stems from his role with his political committee, Texans for a Republican Majority, a now-defunct organization that already had been indicted on charges of illegally using corporate money during the 2002 legislative elections.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
TX-21: John Courage is an All-StarPosted by Bob Brigham
Having worked with two congressional campaigns endorsed by DFA, I realize that their support is like winning the lottery. So too will John Courage, who is the first "grassroots all-star" DFA candidate for 2006.
From Blog for America
We have the power to elect new leadership in this country.
We've proven over and over again that when we make a race competitive—no matter the district—we can win. But the only way to make every race and every district competitive is with your support.
Two weeks ago, we asked DFA supporters to help kick-off the campaign to take back Congress by voting in our Grassroots All-Star competition. Tens of thousands of DFA members voted for candidates in every corner of the country. After tallying the votes, we're excited to announce the DFA Grassroots All Star: John Courage, from San Antonio, Texas.
I am so proud to have won the support of DFA and the first Grassroots All-Star Endorsement for the 2006 Election Season. My campaign has very strong grassroots, and they were essential in winning this endorsement. This endorsement in TX-21 is sending a strong national message to the GOP congressional "leadership" that in 2006 they can run, but they can't hide - even in Texas.
All of us should be proud of the way the poll was run, the way the candidates were all presented and the way Democrats around the country were given the opportunity to let their voices be heard. It was great to know that 60 Congressional candidates applied for DFA's endorsement! It is through participation like this, that we will win back the House of Representatives.
This endorsement has special meaning for me because my wife and I have been DFA meetup hosts and activists for the past 2 years. I know that receiving the support of DFA is important because I've seen the grassroots strength first-hand.
There's been an overwhelming response in Central Texas to my call for reining in the budget deficit, developing an exit-strategy for Iraq, restoring ethics to Congress and supporting policies that meet the needs of mainstream working families, not just millionaires and Tom DeLay. The local excitement about a change in Congress helped produce a DFA victory this week and will carry me to victory next November.
Visit John Courage's website.
Friday, September 23, 2005
Scandal: Karl Rove and Jack AbramoffPosted by Bob Brigham
From the Washington Post:
Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff bragged two years ago that he was in contact with White House political aide Karl Rove on behalf of a large, Bermuda-based corporation that wanted to avoid incurring some taxes and continue receiving federal contracts, according to a written statement by President Bush's nominee to be deputy attorney general.
Timothy E. Flanigan, general counsel for conglomerate Tyco International Ltd., said in a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that Abramoff's lobbying firm initially boasted that Abramoff could help Tyco fend off a special liability tax because he "had good relationships with members of Congress," including House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.).
Abramoff later said "he had contact with Mr. Karl Rove" about the issue, according to the statement by Flanigan, who oversaw Tyco's dealings with Abramoff and his firm and received reports from Abramoff about progress in the lobbying campaign. Flanigan's statement is the latest indication that Abramoff promoted himself as having ready access to senior officials in the Bush administration.
WTF? In 2006, the Republicans will fear two words: competence & corruption. The worst case scenario is when the Democrat is authentic.
Democrats are lucky that George Bush is too stubborn to fire Karl Rove. He's corrupt! Corrupt hack running an incompetent Republican Administration.
Rove played fast and loose for too long. Now he's been linked to Jack Abramoff. Not only did he compromise National Security for political paybacks, but he is also corrupt. A five-year-old could write this storyline -- even the Establishment Democrats might figure it out.
Bonus points for a very specific, "no recollection" of the scandal:
A White House spokeswoman, Erin Healy, said Rove "has no recollection" of being contacted by Abramoff about Tyco's concerns.
Talking Points Memo has had the best info on the next part:
Rove's personal assistant at the time, Susan Ralston, formerly worked as Abramoff's secretary.
TYCO, in addition to being an awful company, helped fund an "army of lobbyists" to prop-up the GOP:
Tyco was among a raft of companies, including Ingersoll-Rand and Noble Corp., that hired an army of lobbyists to stall the legislation and ultimately kill most of it. House Republican leaders argued that corporate flight was merely a symptom of a much broader problem with the U.S. tax code that should be treated in a larger tax reform package.
Abramoff remains the focus of a lengthy investigation by a task force led by prosecutors at the Justice Department and including investigators at the Internal Revenue Service, the Interior Department and General Services Administration. The probe was initially focused on whether he bilked Native American tribes that paid him tens of millions of dollars in lobbying and other fees, but has since widened to include other matters.
And, of course, our favorite lobbyist firm, makes the story...
The ties between Tyco and Greenberg Traurig have already been investigated by a special counsel appointed by Greenberg to examine Abramoff's activities at the firm. According to knowledgeable sources and Flanigan's written statement, Greenberg has promised to repay three-quarters of a $2 million fee that Tyco paid, at Abramoff's direction, to a firm called Grassroots Interactive.
The fee was supposed to finance a letter-writing campaign by Tyco suppliers against the offshore tax bill, but Greenberg concluded that $1.5 million of it was "diverted to entities controlled by Mr. Abramoff" and misspent, according to Flanigan's statement.
Andrew Blum, a spokesman for Abramoff's law firm, declined to comment, as did Jill Perry, a spokeswoman for Greenberg Traurig.
"No recollection" and denials. This scandal is only going to get bigger. You can't trust Republicans with money. . .
Hat-tip to TPM for the heads-up - Thanks!
Thursday, September 22, 2005
TX-Gov: Rick Perry, "Adios, Mofo"Posted by Bob Brigham
I snapped this pic when I went to the gulf coast for Katrina. I hope the Texas bloggers won't have to see (and smell) such a sight, but recent news is not encouraging.
The last hurricane was bad, but the real destruction did not come from the storm, but from the response (or lack thereof because Bush stayed on vacation). The Republican Administration did nothing to evacuate those who could not themselves, they did nothing to stop the flooding until it was too late. And that is why the Bush Bodies floated and bloated.
As Hurricane Rita approaches, once again, bloggers will be documenting the story, this time with institutional help from the Houston Chronicle. Godspeed to those fleeing the storm, Godbless to those stuck in the path, and God Damn to Texas Governor Rick Perry for offering little more than an, "Adios, Mofo" to those who can't fend for themselves.
I hope that this time the Republican response isn't more of a disaster than the disaster itself, but I'm not holding my breath. You can't trust Republicans with government.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
2006: GOP Fears Accountability for Lake GeorgePosted by Bob Brigham
54 US Senators today KILLED legislation establishing an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate what went so horribly wrong with Hurricane Katrina.
76% of Americans want an independent bipartisan commission, like the one that investigated the 9/11 attacks, to investigate what went wrong. In fact, according to the same poll, Americans of all stripes, Republicans and Democrats, are united behind their support for such a commission (64% of all Republicans and 83% of all Democrats want a commission) even though they were aware that the Republicans in Congress are doing their own biased and partisan investigation (see below).
So why did every Republican US Senator (save the Senator from Louisiana, who simply didn't vote) vote AGAINST forming this independent, bipartisan commission to investigate what went so horribly wrong, and to find out how we avoid an even larger catastrophe the next time Osama attacks a major American city with a chemical, biological or nuclear bomb?
It's time to find out.
Call all the Republican Senators, fill their office voice mails with messages. Ask them why they voted against forming an impartial, independent commission to find out the truth about what went wrong with Hurricane Katrina? (Or in the case of the Louisiana Republican Senator, ask him why he didn't vote.) Ask them why they would rather have America unprepared for a future chemical, biological or nuclear attack from Al Qaeda? If we don't know why we were unprepared today, we will surely be unprepared tomorrow.
Every senator on this list will face a tough re-election campaign due to this scandal. This is disgusting. This is a cover-up.
Alexander, Lamar- (R - TN) Class II
302 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.alexander.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.Home
Allard, Wayne- (R - CO) Class II
521 DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.allard.senate.gov/contactme
Allen, George- (R - VA) Class I
204 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.allen.senate.gov/index.cfm?c=email
Bennett, Robert- (R - UT) Class III
431 DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.bennett.senate.gov/contact/emailmain.html
Bond, Christopher- (R - MO) Class III
274 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.bond.senate.gov/contact/contactme.cfm
Brownback, Sam- (R - KS) Class III
303 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.brownback.senate.gov/CMEmailMe.cfm
Bunning, Jim- (R - KY) Class III
316 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.bunning.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.Email
Burns, Conrad- (R - MT) Class I
187 DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.burns.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Home.Contact
Burr, Richard- (R - NC) Class III
217 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.burr.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.Home
Chafee, Lincoln- (R - RI) Class I
141A RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.chafee.senate.gov/webform.htm
Chambliss, Saxby- (R - GA) Class II
416 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: cwww.hambliss.senate.gov/Contact/default.cfm?pagemode=1
Coburn, Tom- (R - OK) Class III
172 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.coburn.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.Home
Cochran, Thad- (R - MS) Class II
113 DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.cochran.senate.gov/contact.htm
Coleman, Norm- (R - MN) Class II
320 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.coleman.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.ContactForm
Collins, Susan- (R - ME) Class II
461 DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.collins.senate.gov/low/contactemail.htm
Cornyn, John- (R - TX) Class II
517 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.cornyn.senate.gov/contact/index.html
Craig, Larry- (R - ID) Class II
520 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.craig.senate.gov/email/
Crapo, Michael- (R - ID) Class III
239 DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.crapo.senate.gov/contact/email.cfm
DeMint, Jim- (R - SC) Class III
340 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.demint.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.Home
DeWine, Mike- (R - OH) Class I
140 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.dewine.senate.gov
Dole, Elizabeth- (R - NC) Class II
555 DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.dole.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=ContactInformation.ContactForm
Domenici, Pete- (R - NM) Class II
328 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.domenici.senate.gov/contact/contactform.cfm
Ensign, John- (R - NV) Class I
356 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.ensign.senate.gov/forms/email_form.cfm
Enzi, Michael- (R - WY) Class II
379A RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.enzi.senate.gov/email.htm
Frist, Bill- (R - TN) Class I
509 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.frist.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=AboutSenatorFrist.ContactForm
Graham, Lindsey- (R - SC) Class II
290 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.lgraham.senate.gov/index.cfm?mode=contact
Grassley, Chuck- (R - IA) Class III
135 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.grassley.senate.gov/webform.htm
Gregg, Judd- (R - NH) Class III
393 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.gregg.senate.gov/sitepages/contact.cfm
Hagel, Chuck- (R - NE) Class II
248 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.hagel.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Offices.Contact
Hatch, Orrin- (R - UT) Class I
104 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.hatch.senate.gov/index.cfm?Fuseaction=Offices.Contact
Hutchison, Kay- (R - TX) Class I
284 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.hutchison.senate.gov/e-mail.htm
Inhofe, James- (R - OK) Class II
453 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.inhofe.senate.gov/contactus.htm
Isakson, Johnny- (R - GA) Class III
120 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.isakson.senate.gov/contact.cfm
Kyl, Jon- (R - AZ) Class I
730 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.kyl.senate.gov/contact.cfm
Lott, Trent- (R - MS) Class I
487 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Lugar, Richard- (R - IN) Class I
306 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Martinez, Mel- (R - FL) Class III
317 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.martinez.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=ContactInformation.ContactForm
McCain, John- (R - AZ) Class III
241 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.mccain.senate.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=Contact.Home
McConnell, Mitch- (R - KY) Class II
361-A RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.mcconnell.senate.gov/contact_form.cfm
Murkowski, Lisa- (R - AK) Class III
709 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.murkowski.senate.gov/contact.cfm
Roberts, Pat- (R - KS) Class II
109 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.roberts.senate.gov/e-mail_pat.html
Santorum, Rick- (R - PA) Class I
511 DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.santorum.senate.gov/contactform.cfm
Sessions, Jeff- (R - AL) Class II
335 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.sessions.senate.gov/email/contact.cfm
Shelby, Richard- (R - AL) Class III
110 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Smith, Gordon- (R - OR) Class II
404 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.gsmith.senate.gov/webform.htm
Snowe, Olympia- (R - ME) Class I
154 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Specter, Arlen- (R - PA) Class III
711 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.specter.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=ContactInfo.Home
Stevens, Ted- (R - AK) Class II
522 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.stevens.senate.gov/contact_form.cfm
Sununu, John- (R - NH) Class II
111 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.sununu.senate.gov/webform.html
Talent, James- (R - MO) Class I
493 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.talent.senate.gov/Contact/default.cfm?pagemode=1
Thomas, Craig- (R - WY) Class I
307 DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.thomas.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.Home
Thune, John- (R - SD) Class III
383 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.thune.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.Home
Vitter, David- (R - LA) Class III
516 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.vitter.senate.gov/contact.cfm
Voinovich, George- (R - OH) Class III
524 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.voinovich.senate.gov/contact/index.htm
Warner, John- (R - VA) Class II
225 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.warner.senate.gov/contact/contactme.cfm
Saturday, September 03, 2005
Katrina: Live from Houston, TXPosted by Bob Brigham
I'm at the Houston airport, waiting for a flight into Birmingham, then driving south.
During Paul Hackett's campaign, I think we proved that being on the ground is a great fulcrum. "Showing up maximizes" the leverage and we need it now, more than ever. Bush failed America, so now the burden falls to each American to help do what needs to be done.
My specialty is using the internet, which is a perfect vehicle. From ABC News:
"When I put the listing on the Web site in the evening, I had five or six families respond by the morning," van Gelderen said while he was sending out e-mails to his friends challenging them to help. Van Gelderen had his entire staff mobilizing relief efforts, rather than focusing on business. "The private sector has to start doing just as much as the government."
Van Gelderen listed his available housing through Moveon.org, a liberal-leaning non-profit political organization.
MoveOn launched its hurricane housing site on Thursday afternoon, and within 25 hours received offers for 45,000 beds — 11,500 within driving distance of New Orleans, according to MoveOn president Eli Pariser.
"Basically we were just racking our brains trying to figure out how we could help our members provide some help for victims," said Pariser. "We have a direct line to 3 million people and there might be a lot who might be able to open up their homes."
At Swing State Project, I will continue to examine the electoral implications of the second disaster: the response. When Bush's poll numbers dropped below 40%, I didn't think they could go lower. I mean, he would always hold the Republicans, wouldn't he?
The right wing realizes Bush's decision to continue his vacation kick-started a chain of events that will haunt the Republican Party for a long time. Geographically, Bush's incompetence has put the entire south in play. As the harvest forces tough conversations about transportation, the Midwest will also come into play. Not only is the Republican congress corrupt, but voting Republican gives another vote to the incompetent Republican Administration.
Bush fucked up. And even rabid right-wingers know it. The Washington Times knows it; Fox News knows it. Hell, even the Bull Moose is talking about impeachment. These organizations have propped Bush up for years and now they are cutting him loose, realizing that it is impossible to defend Bush's response – it is a credibility killer.
The hurricane was a disaster, but Bush's vacation-based reaction has been the real catastrophe.
So I'm going in. We're bringing in a SUV full of supplies, I also have my laptop and video camera.
Please sign up for Hurricane Housing.
Additionally requests will be coming.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
MT-Sen: Tester's Email FundraisingPosted by Tim Tagaris
I got another one today. An email from a candidate asking for money. It's common knowledge that the more a campaign uses its email list to ask for money, people will open less of their emails down the road, and their list will become burned.
But the email I received today was different, and frankly I have never seen it before. I sign up for all kinds of campaign emails, and I am not sure I can remember a time a candidate, in the middle of a campaign, asked people to give their money to something else. Something of a more immediate concern. Something more important than one campaign.
As I write this, waters continue to rise in New Orleans, where entire neighborhoods have been flooded. Biloxi, Mississippi has been hit hard. More than 37,000 Americans are already seeking shelter in American Red Cross centers all along the Gulf Coast. And the director of FEMA says tens of thousands more will likely require shelter for weeks, if not months.
So why is a U.S. Senate candidate from Montana asking you to help out?
Because it’s the right thing to do. Because this campaign isn’t just about politics—it’s about all of us pulling together to bring Montana values to Washington, D.C. and to the rest of the nation.
And in Montana, we help a neighbor in need. And sometimes that neighbor is very far away.
So please do what you can by supporting the efforts of the American Red Cross to help those affected by this disaster:
Thank you for helping out.
Montanans for Tester
P.S. Please forward this on to your families and friends. Lives really are at stake, and your efforts can make a difference.
What really amazes me with this appeal is that for many, this is the first email they received from Jon Tester. Given his recently online publicity on the front page of Kos and MyDD, he made decision to make his first contact with many an attempt solicit contributions for a greater good than his campaign.
It makes me even more proud that my second ever contribution to a political campaign was John Testers, and it speaks volumes about the man.
UPDATE: (Bob) I was blown away when I opened the Tester email -- Tester is the real deal. I also got an email from Jon Corzine asking for help. As we come together online, our networks have value far beyond any election. Together, we can make a difference regardless of the challenge. The internet allows us all to act neighborly.
UPDATE: (Bob) I just received an email from a source close to the Chris Bell gubernatorial campaign in Texas. It appears that Bell's campaign was in the middle of an online fundraising drive to mark the launch of his campaign earlier this month. Bell suspended it earlier today and will be sending an email solicitation for the Red Cross tomorrow in place of the fundraising email that was scheduled. The website says:
I read the news today, oh boy. The Chris Bell for Governor campaign is calling off our online fundraising drive out of respect for the hurricane victims. Please do what you can for those who can't do for themselves. Please do as much as you can, and then please do more. We're taking down our fundraising thermometer and putting up the link to the Red Cross...
UPDATE: (Bob) And Howard Dean, full email after the jump...
This week millions of Americans fled Hurricane Katrina. Across the South families abandoned their homes and businesses, not knowing what would be there when they returned.
Many stayed behind and suffered devastating loss and injuries -- nearly a hundred have died that we know of, and hundreds of thousands need our help.
America is at its best when we realize that we are one community -- that we're all in this together. That means that each one of us has the responsibility to do what we can to help the relief effort.
The Red Cross is a great place to start:
They are already moving people and resources into the region to help. Donations will provide clean water, food, and shelter for disaster victims. The Red Cross web site also has important information for victims and their relatives across the country.
Many local Red Cross chapters are organizing volunteers to travel to affected areas -- doctors and nurses to provide medical care, workers to build shelters, first responders to assist in rescue operations.
You can find your local chapter here to learn what you can do:
We are still learning the full story of the devastation, but there is no time to wait. Please do something now.
Governor Howard Dean, M.D.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
TX-22: Momentum vs. the Perp WalkPosted by Bob Brigham
Regular readers of The Swing State Project know that I have an eerie knack when it comes to timing. So where else would I be on the night that Abramoff is indicted, but with Nick Lampson…
Sometimes, in this business, there is an urge to get down in the mud. Not for former Congressman Lampson in his quest against Tom DeLay. Lampson provides the perfect contrast because he is a true gentleman. No offense to certain readers (who were my teachers), but I wish I had Mr. Lampson as a teacher because I know he must have been wonderful.
Tom DeLay is the master of politics corrupted by money and will spend whatever it takes to hold on to the power he loves to abuse. But there is only so much you can spend and I want to give Lampson the tools to compete. I'm kinda broke after my cannonball run to Ohio, but Lampson is going to get some money out of me. My thinking is that Tom DeLay deserves a fine and the closest I can get to issuing a ticket is a contribution to Lampson. So I will do my part.
There are two types of politicos: those who should run and those who should serve. Nick Lampson belongs back in congress.
TX-22: Culture of CorruptionPosted by Bob Brigham
WASHINGTON - A federal audit of a political fundraising committee founded by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay found that it failed to report more than $300,000 in debts owed to vendors and incorrectly paid for some committee activities with money from another DeLay-connected political committee.
The Federal Election Commission's report didn't indicate whether it would pursue enforcement action against Americans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee.
ARMPAC's executive director, Jim Ellis, was indicted in Texas in connection with a separate DeLay-connected committee, Texans for a Republican Majority. In that case, Ellis is charged with money laundering and accepting illegal political contributions for state legislative campaigns. DeLay has not been accused of any wrongdoing in the case.
DeLay also has been mired in controversy over his connection to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, whose work for several Indian tribes is under federal investigation.
The Culture of Corruption doesn't just happen in swing districts. We need to fight everywhere, even TX-22. Leave no district behind.
Sunday, August 07, 2005
TX-28: Let It Begin With CuellarPosted by Tim Tagaris
It wasn't the "Gang of Fourteen" that sold out the working men and women of America in the early morning hours of July 28th, it was the "Gang of Fifteen Democrats" who voted for CAFTA that did the dirty work. Chief among the back-stabbers was Democrat Henry Cullar of Texas.
Rangel recalled a conversation he had had with Cuellar when both attended a meeting at the White House several weeks ago. “He gave me his personal assurances that if I helped this president [on CAFTA], that this president would be there for me,” Rangel recalled. “He said he knew this from personal experience.”And Cuellar does have a good amount of personal experience with the President and other Texas Republicans.
As a state House member in 2000, he [Cuellar] stumped for George W. Bush's presidential effort. Afterward, he agreed to serve the new GOP governor, Rick Perry, as secretary of state.Not only did he vote for CAFTA, but Cuellar took his actions a step further, attempting to lobby other Democratic representatives to support the bill. Fittingly, Cuellar will get primaried in 2006 by Ciro Rodriguez, former Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in the House of Representatives. I read with glee that labor leaders are already rallying against Cuellar and the DCCC will likely turn its back on any attempt defend the traitorous representative.
That outraged unions. Chuck Rocha, national political director at United Steelworkers, called Mr. Cuellar his No. 1 target and said he's mobilizing the district's 20,000 members and retirees. [...]This comes on the heels of Majority Leader Pelosi reportedly contemplating formal action against several of the Members who strayed from the caucus on this important vote. Maybe Greg Meeks (NY-6) will be next. Meeks supported CAFTA despite being unchallenged by a Republican in both 2002 and 2004. I say let the formal action begin, and let it begin with Cuellar.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee generally backs incumbents but probably won't give much help in this sort of contested primary.
In 2004, Cuellar defeated Rodriguez by 55 votes. He went on to defeat Republican Jim Hobson 59% to 39%. And although George Bush won by a narrow margin over John Kerry in 2004 in the district, Al Gore defeated Bush in 2000. We should retain this seat no matter what happens in the primary. In Texas-28, it's time to fight it out in the primary.
I know there is a lot of dissatisfaction with the D-Trip lately, but this made me happy. I know the official line is that they don't get involved in contested primaries anyway, but we all know that can be a load of mularkey at times (see Jeff Smith). I hope we can start using potential primary challenges more often as a stick for those who feel it convenient to stray from the caucus on important votes like CAFTA. For a Democrat who won by 20% in 2004, there was no excuse to vote "aye" and then attempt to lobby other Democrats to join the dark side on this one.
Sunday, June 26, 2005
TX-22: Tom DeLay TABPosted by Bob Brigham
AUSTIN - Documents released in a civil lawsuit Friday show that Texas Association of Business officials were trying to influence the outcome of state House races when they ran a $1.7 million "voter education project" paid for with corporate money.
"Of the nine incumbents ... we went after, seven were defeated. This is huge news," a TAB executive said in a 2002 e-mail the day after the group helped Republicans win control of the Texas House for the first time since Reconstruction.
TAB officials have claimed that their corporate spending was meant to educate voters, not affect elections. [...]
Indictments have been returned against three associates of U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay in connection with how corporate money was spent by the political action committee Texans for a Republican Majority. TRMPAC coordinated its activities with TAB. The TRMPAC defendants say they are innocent.
...down, down, down
And the flames leapt higher...
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
TX-22: Drop the HammerPosted by Bob Brigham
The American Progress Action Fund email update on Drop the Hammer:
Here is what you have accomplished in the Drop the Hammer Campaign so far:
* Action: 20,092 of you have emailed Delay's Corporate backers; hundreds more of you made phone calls; and still more of you helped pick and fund our radio ads that ran in more than 70 markets around the country.
* The Results: 3 of the 5 companies we targeted, American Airlines, Nissan, and Verizon, have announced they will no longer support Tom DeLay's legal defense.
* Still to come: We will continue to keep the pressure on the other two companies: Bacardi and RJR. We urge you to avoid Bacardi and RJR products until these companies publicly end their support for Rep. DeLay's legal defense. Also, we will keep track of any new corporate contributors to DeLay's legal defense fund.
* Action: You sent a total of 7370 letters-to-the-editor calling for the restoration of the House Ethics Rules and an impartial House Ethics Committee; you made hundreds of phone calls to Capitol Hill.
* The Results: The old rules have been restored and a new investigation of DeLay's ethics has been launched. Also, Tom Cole and Lamar Smith - 2 Congressmen with financial ties to Tom DeLay - have removed themselves from the DeLay investigation.
Bacardi and RJR are not operating responsibily -- it is bad business for them to continue throwing money at a corrupt politician.
TX-22: Fire Tom DeLayPosted by Bob Brigham
From MoveOn PAC:
Fire Tom DeLay
House Republican Majority Leader Rep. Tom DeLay has a pattern of repeated legal and ethical scandals. Yet he remains in one of the most important positions in our government—deciding what legislation Congress considers. Sign our petition to urge Congress to fire Tom DeLay as Majority Leader. Our goal is to top 500,000 petition signers by the end of the month and deliver these petitions to Republican members of Congress and local Republican Parties during the first week in June.
- Accepted trips from corporations and later helped kill legislation they opposed
- Accepted trips from the lobbyist for a foreign government in violation of House rules
- Paid family members more than $500,000 out of campaign contributions
- Helped sweatshops in the Mariana Islands at the behest of a lobbyist.
- Promised a role in drafting legislation to a corporate donor
- Tried to coerce a Congressman for a vote on Medicare
- Allegedly used corporate money given to his PAC to finance Texas campaigns in violation of state law
- Used Homeland Security resources in a dispute with Democrats in Texas
- Diverted funds from a children's charity for lavish celebrations at the Republican convention
- Threatened retaliation against interest groups that don't support Republicans
- Stacked the House Ethics Committee with representatives who have contributed to his legal defense fund
- Crippled the effectiveness of the House Ethics Committee by purging members who had rebuked him
- Pushed for a rules change for the House Ethics process that paralyzed the panel
- Sought a rule change that would have no longer "required leaders to step aside temporarily if indicted"
Totally corrupted and abusing power to stay in power, Tom DeLay is a disgrace to Congress.
TX-22: Fire Tom DeLayPosted by Bob Brigham
From MoveOn PAC:
Fire Tom DeLay
House Republican Majority Leader Rep. Tom DeLay has a pattern of repeated legal and ethical scandals. Yet he remains in one of the most important positions in our government—deciding what legislation Congress considers. Sign our petition to urge Congress to fire Tom DeLay as Majority Leader. Our goal is to top 500,000 petition signers by the end of the month and deliver these petitions to Republican members of Congress and local Republican Parties during the first week in June.
- Accepted trips from corporations and later helped kill legislation they opposed
- Accepted trips from the lobbyist for a foreign government in violation of House rules
- Paid family members more than $500,000 out of campaign contributions
- Helped sweatshops in the Mariana Islands at the behest of a lobbyist.
- Promised a role in drafting legislation to a corporate donor
- Tried to coerce a Congressman for a vote on Medicare
- Allegedly used corporate money given to his PAC to finance Texas campaigns in violation of state law
- Used Homeland Security resources in a dispute with Democrats in Texas
- Diverted funds from a children's charity for lavish celebrations at the Republican convention
- Threatened retaliation against interest groups that don't support Republicans
- Stacked the House Ethics Committee with representatives who have contributed to his legal defense fund
- Crippled the effectiveness of the House Ethics Committee by purging members who had rebuked him
- Pushed for a rules change for the House Ethics process that paralyzed the panel
- Sought a rule change that would have no longer "required leaders to step aside temporarily if indicted"
Totally corrupted and abusing power to stay in power, Tom DeLay is a disgrace to Congress.
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
TX-Sen: Barbara Ann Radnofsky Running for Open SeatPosted by Bob Brigham
I would have paid attention to the following no matter what, but since Mr. Liberal penned it (and is involved), I'm paying close attention. From MyDD:
As of 4PM EST, news is spreading across the Lone Star State that their senior Senator, Kay Bailey Hutchison is running for Governor, and will declare her candidacy on June 6th. She'll be taking on her recent bete-noir and current GOP Governor Rick Perry in what promises to be a bloody GOP primary indeed. Perry has a great deal of support from conservatives in the state, while Hutchison is wildly popular in the state itself and especially with moderate GOPers (what one would use to call "Old Guard" Republicans in the state, back when the GOP was a minority there). Already, Perry has compared Hutchison to Hillary Clinton, and Hutchison has attacked Perry as corrupt and ineffectual. The GOP leaders will have to take sides in this race, and the end result will NOT be pretty for the GOP.
An open senate seat?
In the comments, Byron of Burnt Orange looks at other potential candidates:
Another candidate that I've heard of is Juan Garcia. Garcia is a former officer in the navy who was originally recruited by the local leaders and the state party to run for state representative against Gene Seaman, a Corpus Christi area Republican. Then, several weeks ago, a "Garcia for Senate" website (since taken down) appeared by supporters of Garcia. When contacted by the Corpus Christi Caller Times, Garcia said that he was considering a run.
A lot of Democrats would like to see State Rep. Rick Noriega (D-Houston) run for the seat. Noriega is currently in the army reserves and is serving in Afghanistan. Noriega's wife filled his seat during this past session. Noriega has been in the state house for several sessions now and has a progressive voting record.
As for current and former Dem congressmen, Frost has ruled out a run. Lampson is running against DeLay. I would seriously doubt that Sandlin is interested in a run. Chet Edwards would be a great candidate, but we'd lose his seat in congress. Charlie Stenholm would be a good candidate statewide at some point, but I don't know if he is interested.
But back to Radnofsky. After reading through her website and some of the interviews from Texas bloggers, I'm most impressed with what she has accomplished so far in her life.
I've been passively watching to see whether Kay Bailey Hutchison would run for re-election, but figured I'd find out more about our candidates after her decision. Now it looks like that time has come and I'm excited to closely monitor this race.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
TX-22: Protecting Society from Tom DeLayPosted by Bob Brigham
"Tom DeLay is corrupt. No question about it," Dean said Friday. "This is a guy who shouldn't be in Congress and maybe ought to be serving in jail."
The House ethics committee is investigating whether DeLay violated congressional rules by taking foreign trips paid for by lobbyists. The Texas Republican has not been charged with a crime, but Dean said he would not apologize for saying earlier this month that DeLay "ought to go back to Houston where he can serve his jail sentence."
If justice is served and DeLay is locked up, I'm going to drop a fuckton of mail to other inmates in the prison -- mail that discusses certain Tom DeLay quotes and votes that the inmates might find of interest.
Monday, May 09, 2005
TX-22: DeLay on the RunPosted by Bob Brigham
Sorry to get your hopes up with the headline, Majority Leader Tom DeLay hasn't tried to skip town yet, but he is retreating, from the Washington Post:
In the euphemism favored on Capitol Hill, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is "not staff driven." Translation: He is used to doing what he wants. [...]
Suddenly, the old Texas brio that carried him through years of smaller controversies is on the wane. The leader recognizes -- belatedly, some GOP colleagues say -- that the latest questions about his relationships with lobbyists are a problem threatening his career and the GOP majority he helped to build and sustain since coming to the House 20 years ago. Everywhere there are signs of a politician in retreat.
DeLay's prowess in fundraising, for instance, was always a pillar of his power in the House. Lining up a corporate aircraft to ferry him to an event was usually arranged with a single phone call. These days, Republican officials report that they are having trouble finding available aircraft -- as businesses fret that DeLay may be radioactive.
DeLay, likewise, usually no longer attends joint news conferences of the GOP leadership. His presence, Republicans say, would distract from the party's message about gas prices or other topics of the day.
Now comes the excruciating period of waiting for the final blow.
Sunday, May 08, 2005
TX-City Races 2005Posted by Bob Brigham
In Dallas, Monica Barros-Greene, the transsexual owner of a popular Mexican restaurant, will face Pauline Medrano in a runoff for city council. Medrano pulled 45 percent of votes, compared with Barros-Greene's 38 percent.
And there might be even more interesting of a race in San Antonio.
A 30-year-old San Antonio city councilman says his lead in the mayoral election should erase doubts that he's too young to lead the nation's eighth-largest city, but his 70-year-old opponent isn't so sure.
Councilman Julian Castro will face retired Texas appeals court judge Phil Hardberger in a June runoff for mayor because neither received more than 50 percent of the vote on Saturday.
Castro led with about 42 percent, or 47,893 votes, after three-fourths of precincts were counted. Hardberger received 30 percent of the vote, or 34,280 votes.
"The lion's share of voters in San Antonio believe I can effectively lead," said Castro, who was the subject of jokes during his campaign because of his age and youthful appearance.
Castro faced a double-scandal (literally) when he was busted extending his campaign schedule in an innovative way:
The election gained attention last month when Castro's twin brother, Joaquin Castro, stood in for him on a city council parade float. Hardberger accused the brothers of trying to deceive the public.
The brothers responded by joking about the so-called "Twingate" affair, with Julian wearing an "I'm Julian" T-shirt and his brother wearing one that said "I'm Not Julian."
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
TX-22: Tom DeLay 2006 Election CompetitionPosted by Bob Brigham
Last November, four-term Rep. Nick Lampson (D-Tex.) lost his job after a controversial redrawing of the state's congressional seats -- engineered by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) -- left Lampson in a district that was more than half new to him and much more heavily Republican than before.
Now, with DeLay facing a barrage of questions about lavish overseas trips and close dealings with lobbyists, Lampson wants to settle the score for the redistricting, which cost four veteran Texas congressmen their seats and is known by local Democrats as "Tommymandering."
In addition to Frontier PAC, we here at Swing State Project are also very interested in Majority Leader Tom DeLay's re-election campaign.
Mike Allen in the Post continues:
Lampson, a moderate Democrat and one-time public school teacher from Beaumont, plans to formally file papers as a candidate today and then to move into DeLay's suburban Houston district. He said he will spend $4 million or more to try to defeat the majority leader, using ethics as a major issue.
Two recent polls by local news organizations contained troubling news for DeLay, and Democrats contend that his problems are distracting him from his job and provide them with an unusual opportunity to knock off a GOP leader. DeLay was admonished by the House ethics committee three times last year. When the panel is formally reconstituted this week after a four-month hiatus, it will consider whether to launch a formal investigation of DeLay's travel and dealings with lobbyists.
Give, give more, and tell others to give...
With Democrats in Washington vowing to pour as much money as necessary into the Texas district if they determine that Lampson has a chance, the race for the 22nd District seat could wind up as one of the marquee contests of the 2006 midterm elections. DeLay's strategists have expressed concern that the absence of a presidential race next year could make his district a magnet for huge spending by liberal interest groups and labor-backed political organizations, although business interests could be expected to answer overwhelmingly if DeLay needs them. [...]
A close race could also force DeLay to spend more time at home and less time raising money for the party's candidates elsewhere.
Swing State Project has been joined by the Post in realizing DeLay is vulnerable:
DeLay found himself in a tighter race than he expected last November against a relatively unknown Democrat. He won 55 percent of the vote and ran well behind President Bush. DeLay spent $3 million on his reelection. Republican sources said he plans to raise more than $5 million this time.
Bush taped a telephone message to help turn out DeLay's voters in November. White House officials were surprised that the majority leader needed that kind of help.
Look at the latest poll on Ton DeLay and you'll see that this is for real.
After much thought, prayer and counsel with my family, I have decided to run for the 22nd Congressional District of Texas.
My family has deep roots in Fort Bend County. My parents grew up there, were married there, and my siblings and I spent a great deal of time growing up on our grandparents' farms in Stafford. Much of my family is still there, and it is for them and all the people of District 22 that I am running for Congress.
In the coming days, I will begin sharing my ideas for a stronger, more prosperous America. In the meantime, thanks for visiting my Web site, and please check back for updates on our campaign for District 22.
Thank you for your friendship and support.
TX-22: Tom DeLay Corruption: Mariana Islands ScandalPosted by Bob Brigham
WASHINGTON, May 3 - Newly disclosed documents from an American territory in the Pacific show that the powerful Washington lobbyist at the center of federal corruption investigations here paid directly for travel to the islands by several members of Congress, Democrat and Republican, as well as two senior aides to Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, despite House rules that bar such payments.
The lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, submitted bills to his law firm for more than $350,000 in expenses for several trips to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in 1996 and 1997 on behalf of the congressmen, as well as several others including Edwin Buckham, Mr. DeLay's former chief of staff, and Tony Rudy, his former deputy chief of staff. [...]
In letters and e-mail messages to the Marianas, Mr. Abramoff acknowledged that he had paid for the trips and asked the island government, which had hired him to lobby against proposed labor measures that would have affected the islands, to send him checks.
House travel rules bar lobbyists from paying for Congressional travel, even if the lobbyist is reimbursed by a group or government agency that is allowed to pay for travel. [...]
In a statement, the firm, Preston Gates & Ellis, said: "If Jack Abramoff charged Congressional travel to his personal credit card for subsequent reimbursement - even from an entity that could have paid for the travel to begin with - that would have been contrary to firm policy that firm lobbyists were responsible for seeing that any Congressional travel in connection with a representation should be in accordance with Congressional ethics rules."
The firm said that Mr. Abramoff had been advised of the rules when he started working there but that any violations were not caught at the time because his records were not reviewed.
Abramoff knew the rules and he broke the rules. More from the Washington Post.
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
TX-22: New DeLay Poll Worse Than Last PollPosted by Bob Brigham
The last poll on Tom DeLay showed that the voters in Texas' 22nd congressional district weren't looking to re-elect the Majority Leader.
Now, we have a poll that suggests they don't even want to keep him around any longer than it will take to clean out his desk. From, Channel 2 in Houston (548 registered voters, ±4.3%):
In general, do you approve or disapprove of the job Tom DeLay is doing as Congressman?
51 percent disapproved
42 percent approved
7 percent were not sure
Based on what you know right now, do you think Tom DeLay should remain in his position as House Majority Leader, he should resign as House Majority Leader but remain a member of Congress, or do you think he should completely resign from Congress?
39 percent: Remain House Majority Leader
21 percent: Resign Leadership
36 percent: Resign From Congress
4 percent: Not Sure
Goes around, comes around. One day the exterminator, next day...
Monday, April 25, 2005
TX-22: Morrison Drops Out. . . In a Kos DiaryPosted by Tim Tagaris
A statement from Richard Morrison, in a DailyKos diary:
It is with great sadness that I must withdraw my name from the race for District 22. [...]The announcement comes just four days after he asked the Netroots for their support, on another Kos diary. The request was made after attempts by the DCCC move Morisson aside for a different candidate to take on Tom DeLay in 2006. What is interesting to me is that, as of right now, there is no mention of him dropping out on his campaign website.
I am not giving up my fight. I will continue to stay active and work hard for democrats. I ask that you do the same. Tom DeLay is bad for democracy and bad for America. If I can be so bold, I demand that each one of you will commit to work as hard for Congressman Lampson or Councilman Quan as you did for me. Democracy will suffer if you slack off even one bit.
Color me a skeptic, but what do you think brought on Morisson's sudden change of heart?
Sunday, April 24, 2005
TX-22: Smoking GunPosted by Bob Brigham
The airfare to London and Scotland in 2000 for then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) was charged to an American Express card issued to Jack Abramoff, a Washington lobbyist at the center of a federal criminal and tax probe, according to two sources who know Abramoff's credit card account number and to a copy of a travel invoice displaying that number.
DeLay's expenses during the same trip for food, phone calls and other items at a golf course hotel in Scotland were billed to a different credit card also used on the trip by a second registered Washington lobbyist, Edwin A. Buckham, according to receipts documenting that portion of the trip.
House ethics rules bar lawmakers from accepting travel and related expenses from registered lobbyists.
Busted. Twice. With a paper trail. Smoking gun. Help Richard Morrison. DeLay is going down.
Thursday, April 21, 2005
TX-22: Update on Probing DeLayPosted by Bob Brigham
Republicans made their second attempt in two weeks Wednesday to get a deadlocked House ethics committee functioning again, adding the new proposal to blunt Democratic demands for an investigation of DeLay. Some House Republicans have acknowledged the steady Democratic attacks have made them nervous.
Democrats gave no ground. They said they wouldn't allow the evenly divided committee to conduct investigations unless Republicans reversed a rule providing for automatic dismissal of cases.
Contrast this with two months ago. The GOP has lost all negotiating room on the issue. Rules are going to return to congress. DeLay is going to be fairly investigated. And the corruption is so widespread that many will go down with DeLay.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
TX-22: GOP Charade, DeLay Yet to be ProbedPosted by Bob Brigham
Early I posted on reports DeLay would be probed by the House Ethics Committee in a fair and full investigation. That, is not the case.
Jesse Lee points out:
Basically the deal offered was this: they are willing to do just about anything, including immediately commencing an investigation of DeLay, as long as they can dismiss it with a party-line vote. Nice try.
Here is what House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer says:
"This proposal on the ethics process by the Republican leadership is a charade and an absolute non-starter with Democrats, who reject it out of hand. It is a calculated attempt to divert attention from the fact that the Republican Majority has neutered the Ethics Committee in the House by imposing partisan rules that hamstring any meaningful inquiry, sacking the former Chairman and two other Republican Members of the Committee, and firing non-partisan professional staffers.
"While the American people are surely interested to see that Tom DeLay's fellow Republicans agree that his behavior demands investigation, this offer does not address the fact that Republicans are in a position to block other investigations on a party line vote. This issue is bigger than the Majority Leader, it is about the integrity of the entire House now and in the future.
"In addition, Rep. Hastings's personal assurances on ethics rules and practices - even if put in writing - cannot be the basis for resolving the Republican roadblock on the ethics process. The House ethics process should be based on bipartisan compromise that is supported by both parties, not on personal agreements between individuals that can be made irrelevant by a change of heart or chairmanship.
"The one true thing that this proposal demonstrates is that the Republican leadership is worried that the American people see right through its empty excuse for gutting the ethics process. They are starting to feel the heat for bypassing the Ethics Committee itself and revoking the bipartisan ethics rules that had served this institution and its Members well since 1997.
"The Democratic position on this issue is crystal clear: We should reinstate the bipartisan ethics rules as called for in the Mollohan-Hefley bill, or at the very least the Speaker ought to appoint a bipartisan task force to examine ethics rule changes and report back to the Members."
So we are still waiting on Congress to restore ethics rules, but I was right that this would get interesting.
TX-22: Tom DeLay Getting Probed for CorruptionPosted by Bob Brigham
WASHINGTON - Retreating under pressure, Republicans on the House ethics committee said Wednesday they were ready to open an investigation into allegations of wrongdoing against Majority Leader Tom DeLay.
This is going to get good!
Four of the five Republicans on the committee were ready to move ahead, said Rep. Doc Hastings, the panel's Republican chairman. The panel also has five Democratic members.
The Republicans were "prepared to vote at the earliest opportunity to empanel an investigations subcommittee to review various allegations concerning travel and other actions" by DeLay, he said.
The ethics committee has authority to start an investigation based on information it receives "through public and other sources," Hastings said.
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay treated his political donors to a bird's-eye view of a Three Tenors concert from an arena skybox leased by a lobbyist now under criminal investigation.
DeLay's political action committee did not reimburse lobbyist Jack Abramoff for the May 2000 use of the skybox, instead treating it as a type of donation that didn't have to be disclosed to election regulators at the time.
The skybox donation, valued at thousands of dollars, came three weeks before DeLay also accepted a trip to Europe — including golf with Abramoff at the world-famous St. Andrews course — for himself, his wife and aides that was underwritten by some of the lobbyist's clients.
Two months after the concert and trip, DeLay voted against gambling legislation opposed by some of Abramoff's Indian tribe clients.
House ethics rules require lawmakers to avoid the appearance of any conflict of interest.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
TX-22: Online Research Open Letter to Justice KennedyPosted by Bob Brigham
Dear Justice Kennedy
Via Atrios, I read how Tom DeLay said it was "incredibly outrageous" that you have done "research on the internet" (as a fellow traveller on the information super-highway, I'm sure you read Atrios often and saw his post).
If by any chance you are out consulting the Technorati, I humbly suggest that you spend a little time researching Tom DeLay. If it pleases you, try House of Scandal and Drop the Hammer. I know you will do your own research -- as Tom DeLay alleged -- if you find important links, feel free to put them in the comments.
Thanks for stopping by Swing State Project.
P.S. Bookmark the Daily DeLay. And make sure you stop by when the GOP uses the "nuclear option" on the Constitution.
Monday, April 18, 2005
TX-22: Tom DeLay Billboard - VotePosted by Bob Brigham
Democracy for America's billboard campaign is one step closer to being seen by drivers in Congressman Tom DeLay's 22nd District.
I just received an email from Tom Hughes. Out of 20,000 submissions, DFA has narrowed it down to 30 finalists. When you read the answers you'll see ideas that probably wouldn't have come up from a few consultants deciding the attack, so go choose your favorite. Full email and list of slogans in the extended entry.
You and over 20,000 others submitted slogans for the billboards we plan to put up in Tom DeLay's backyard -- a groundswell that even DeLay himself can't miss.
Suggestions came through all channels: email, on the phone, on the web, and by fax. They varied widely, but the message was always loud and clear: when it comes to this man who calls himself "the Hammer," we're ready to hammer back.
With the help of a team of Texans, we've worked down to the top thirty responses -- is your slogan among them? Find out now, and vote for your favorite:
Even DeLay can't deny the stench of corruption surrounding his leadership. In an interview this week, a reporter asked him if he had "ever crossed the line of ethical behavior in terms of dealing with lobbyists, [his] use of government authority or with fundraising." His response? "Ever is a very strong word."
He has made Congress a playground for corporate lobbyists and he has made Texas a case study in abuse of power for personal gain. He has run roughshod over ethics rules and Texas laws and he's threatened judges, prosecutors and even Republican colleagues who get in his way. DeLay is the definition of out of touch, out of control leadership.
Even in the face of all this, Tom DeLay's Republican Party is determined to protect him. Outside groups and DeLay's defenders in Congress have stepped up their campaign to smear anyone who challenges him.
Something tells me that you won't be intimidated -- vote now to decide what you want to say:
Democracy for America is about clean government that works for all Americans. Tom DeLay and the Republican Party he has built are about the opposite -- a government bought and paid for by corporate interests and right-wing billionaires.
DeLay and his defenders say that you're the one who's out of the mainstream. He insists that he represents the values of his constituents and the majority of Americans.
But judging by the responses we received from all over Texas -- and all over the country -- that's just not the case. So let's put our message up for all to see, and let the people decide.
Democracy for America
P.S. -- Don't forget to vote for the best billboard:
Here are the the best slogans:
- Nail the Hammer
- How am I doing? (Photo of DeLay) Call (DeLay’s DC office number)
- (Photo of Texan) Tom DeLay does not represent me.
- Rep. DeLay, Your ethics don’t match our values. --From the growing majority in the 22nd district
- Don’t mess with Ethics!
- “Education is not my job.“ -- Tom DeLay
- Delay listens to powerful insiders... but does he ever really hear YOU?
- Tom Delay: Unchecked and Unbalanced
- Tom DeLay Is Messing With Texas
- Tom Delay: Hammering the Constitution one civil right at a time
- Tom Delay: Exterminating Democracy right here in America
- (Picture of Delay) Congressman for sale (or at least his vote is)!
- Corporations spent millions to send Tom DeLay golfing, and all you got was this billboard.
- Would you buy a used car from this man?
- Looking for moral decay...look no farther than Tom DeLay!
- Tom DeLay: Putting your taxpayer dollars to work, 18 holes at a time.
- We apologize for the DeLay, public service will resume shortly.
- Tom DeLay: My Values Should Be Your Values
- Tom DeLay: The best representative money can buy.
- Tom DeLay: All His Ethics Aren’t in Texas
- Why vote for Tom DeLay, when you can buy him?
- DeLay, no longer.
- Tom Delay: Bad for Texas, Bad for America.
- America for Sale! Call Tom DeLay for details.
- Ethics are a moral value. Tell Tom.
- While he is looking out for big corporations, who is looking out for you?
- Tom Delay: Unethical, UnTexan!
- Tom DeLay: Never before have the taxpayers done so much to improve the golf game of a public official.
- When a man fails to understand separation of powers, it is time to separate him from power.
- When Ethics Get Hammered, The Voter Gets Nailed.
Together, we've come up with 30 lines. Do with this list what you will...
I love Open-Source politics.
Sunday, April 17, 2005
TX-22: DFA Billboards Final CallPosted by Bob Brigham
Last week, I wrote about the wonderful campaign by Democracy for America to open-source the message creation for billboards in Tom DeLay's 22nd Congression District in Texas. DavidNYC then posted on the idea Richard Morrison suggested. Even DNC Chair and for DFA leader Howard Dean seems to catching the spirit.
Greg Greene writes:
Let's keep the brilliance coming — make your bid for billboard immortality today. The finalist slogans will be annouced tomorrow.
Saturday, April 16, 2005
TX-22: Tom DeLay Campaign Debt in Finance StatementPosted by Bob Brigham
In the first three months of this year, DeLay's personal campaign committee took in $438,235, including $100,000 he borrowed personally for his campaign, according to the latest records from the Federal Election Commission.
The loan was from Southern National Bank in Sugar Land, Texas, according to his quarterly campaign finance report filed late Friday. DeLay still owed $88,330 on the loan at the end of March.
Where is the money coming from?
More than half of DeLay's contributions, $221,000 were from corporate political action committees or trade associations. [...]
Among the individual contributors were Tony Rudy, a former DeLay aide, and his Rudy's wife, Lisa, who each gave $2,000. Rudy made the contribution while working for Greenberg Traurig, the former law firm of lobbyist Jack Abramoff. A grand jury and two Senate committees are investigating work Abramoff did for several Indian tribes.
Bob Perry, a longtime backer of conservative causes, and his wife, Doylene, contributed $8,000 to DeLay.
Perry was a financial backer of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group that campaigned against Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., during the 2004 presidential election. Perry also was a contributor to Texans for a Republican Majority and the Texas Association of Business, two groups at the center of the Texas investigation.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
TX-22: Quote of the YearPosted by Bob Brigham
"Somebody ought to look at the organizations and ask the New York Times, The Washington Post, the L.A. Times, Time, Newsweek, AP, why they're spending all these resources they are. ... Are they collaborating with all these organizations that are funded by George Soros?"-Tom DeLay
In Tom DeLay's world, the problem isn't the corruption, the problem is people are talking about the corruption.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
TX-22 & CA-46: Defense of the Clones Part IIPosted by Tim Tagaris
The wife and daughter of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, have been paid more than $500,000 since 2001 by Mr. DeLay's political action and campaign committees, according to a New York Times review of disclosure statements filed with the Federal Election Commission and separate records in Texas.
"I think that Chris Shays again has demonstrated he's totally out of touch with what the mainstream of the Republican members of Congress are feeling and that he is disloyal to the party and to people as individuals," said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif.
California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher: Wife Rhonda Carmony makes $40,000 a year as his campaign manager.
According to FEC reports, Rohrabacher's wife is still receiving bi-weekly payments of $1169.85 since the conclusion of his last campaign. She is the only "staffer" still drawing a salary.
TX-22: Defense of the ClonesPosted by Tim Tagaris
This is an email the Center for American Progress just received from, apparently, a Republican city council member in Tom DeLay's district. And, oh yeah - the guy is a Baptist Deacon.
Hey ass hole [sic]. Tom Delay happens to be my congresman [sic] and I am happy with the job he does for me and my district. Why don’t you get the F@&* out of our district and leave us alone. Better yet, come speak to me personally and I will show you what I think of you.
Pealrand [sic], TX
[Cell Phone # Redacted]
What's that? Could it be that Kevin Cole also has been investigated for receiving illegal campaign contributions (.pdf)--just like his hero, Tom DeLay? Meanwhile, the Pearland City Council has stripped Cole's bio page from the city website. However, thanks to the wonders of Google cache, here it is.
The moral majority, indeed. Yet another reason to support the Center for American Progress and Dropthehammer.org
TX-22: Purple Monkey DishwasherPosted by DavidNYC
So, Tom DeLay. You're awash in corruption, everyone is gunning for you, and it's time to defend yourself at a big press conference. What do you have to say for yourself?
"I'm not here to discuss the Democrats' agenda," Mr. DeLay said. Instead, he renewed his complaints about "judicial activism," saying that reining in the courts was well within the purview of Congress.
"Congress has constitutionally mandated oversight responsibilities over the judiciary, just like it has over the executive," Mr. DeLay said, "and we would be shirking our constitutional obligation if we did not look at these issues as they come up."
Uh huh. Whatever you say, big guy. (I actually just "accidentally" typed that out as "bug guy." Maybe Freud was right: There are no accidents.) And this has what to do with the price of Reeboks in Minneapolis?
Newt Gingrich called this a reverse "Hillary Clinton defense," ie, a vast left-wing conspiracy. (If only we were that powerful!) The Newtster also said it wouldn't fly, and for once, he's right. Way to stick to your guns, Mr. Ball-Peen. Good luck with that strategery.
TX-22: Morrison Gets in on the GamePosted by DavidNYC
Yesterday, Bob posted DFA's request for people to come up with clever tag-lines to use against Tom DeLay. (Let's call it "open source sloganeering.") I have to say, I really like what our man Richard Morrison (who is taking on DeLay once again in 2006) has already tossed out there:
"No one in this picture will personally profit from this campaign."
Incredibly adorable family, great caption. Says it all for me.
(If you need some background on this story, go here.)
TX-22: Circle the Wagons Before Circling the DrainPosted by Tim Tagaris
It's probably not a very good sign when news of new scandals about you are popping up so frequently that you are forced to create your own personal "war room."
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) has assembled a “formal structure” to counter news stories about his perceived ethical improprieties and ensure the support of Republican lawmakers, GOP sources say. [...]
Meanwhile, House Republicans, particularly those in the leadership, are monitoring the headlines, too. Although there is no formal whip effort to track support for DeLay, Berry and Flynn have been charged with managing the concerns of any Republican lawmakers.
That's funny. They need a Whip to whip the official Whip, Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), into shape--all in the name of standing behind a national disgrace. I really hope there is some way we can keep DeLay around until the 2006 elections are done.
Like DavidNYC noted earlier, get every single Republican Congressman/woman on record defending or attempting to distance themselves from the bugman and drop the hammer on them in 2006 either way.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
TX-22: Project for SSP CommunityPosted by Bob Brigham
One of the most interesting aspects of post-modern politics is the potential of using Open Source message creation. While this scares the hell out of many political consultants, I'm confident enough to realize that all of you are smarter than me. It appears I'm not alone in this realization, check out this email:
From Democracy for America:
If you could say something -- in a big way -- to the people of Congressman Tom DeLay's district in Texas, what would it be?
We're looking for a slogan -- something short, something memorable, and something that lets the people of his district know that it's time for him to go.
We're buying billboards in the 22nd Congressional District, and if your slogan is selected, it will be part of Democracy for America's big splash in Tom DeLay's backyard.
Suggest your Tom DeLay slogan here:
You have a lot of material to work with, thanks to Tom DeLay himself. Everything is fair game -- his abuse of power, his money-for-influence machine, his corporate shilling, his ethics rebukes, his foreign trips with lobbyists, his huge campaign payouts to family members, his bullying of fellow Congressmen.
You can even use his more recent threatening of judges and his wild lashing out at critics. And remember, his nickname is "The Hammer" and he's a former exterminator -- those facts might come in handy as well.
What message do you want to send?
With the folks at Democracy for Texas we're going to take your slogan and make a stand on DeLay's home turf -- where his political base erodes more and more every day.
You were the first to put an ad on the air in his district last year, when everyone thought Tom DeLay was untouchable. Our efforts helped give him the scare of his political life and his lowest margin of victory ever.
Now it's time to finish the job -- and have a little fun doing it.
Democracy for America
P.S. -- Don't forget to suggest your slogan:
My hunch is that Swing State Project has a pretty smart readership. Here is your chance to prove it. Feel free to brainstorm in the comments, maybe collectively we could both identify a line of attack and refine the message prior to submission.
TX-22: Barney Frank Afraid of Tom DeLay...LeavingPosted by Bob Brigham
Democrats think they can make DeLay an issue that costs Republicans seats in next year's elections. "Democrats have gone from being frustrated that people weren't paying enough attention to DeLay to being afraid he's going to be thrown out too soon," says Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.
DeLay will be throw out, either by the Republicans or by the voters -- or he'll be dragged out in handcuffs. No matter what happens, Democrats have captured the ethics high-ground and GOP corruption will be a major issue in 2006. As Kos notes:
Republicans can expect attack ads featuring DeLay whether they speak out against DeLay or not. The Hammer is endemic of what the modern Republican Party has become -- a cesspool of corruption. It is, indeed, everything they ran against in 1994.
Sunday, April 10, 2005
Shays: Buzzoff BugmanPosted by Bob Brigham
WASHINGTON (AP) - Rep. Christopher Shays said Sunday that fellow Republican Rep. Tom DeLay should step down as House majority leader because his continuing ethics problems are hurting the GOP.
"Tom's conduct is hurting the Republican Party, is hurting this Republican majority and it is hurting any Republican who is up for re-election," Shays told The Associated Press on Sunday.
Shays is right, of course. Hopefully, DeLay won't listen because if DeLay were to step down it would rob Democrats across the country of a great campaign issue. Thanks to DeLay getting caught, the entire country is learning of the vast corruption that controls the Republican Party. It isn't just the corruption of one man, it is the web of corruption.
TX-22: Tom DeLay Corruption NewsPosted by Bob Brigham
Three big stories for those following the corruption scandal that has engulfed the GOP:
• Jack Abramoff is indicating he'll cut a deal with prosecutors and says, "Those S.O.B.s. DeLay knew everything. He knew all the details."
• Congressman Chris Shays bucks DeLay, calls him, "an absolute embarrassment to me and to the Republican Party."
• A Washington Post story on DeLay's offensive notes, "DeLay is continuing his high-decibel comments -- including his warning last week about "a judiciary run amok" -- on the theory that he is going to remain himself and not bend to the opposition, friends say."
Remember, Clinton suffered the worst damage not from Republican attacks, but when Lieberman joined the Republican chorus attacking Clinton. Now that Chris Shays is playing the same roll the momentum will increase faster than any other milestone short of the indictments.
The Abramoff story is also key. In addition to saying he had the goods on DeLay, he also said, "There are e-mails and records that will implicate others." Which could be devasting to Republicans in the 2006 mid-term election. When Senator Conrad Burns was implicated in an Abramoff scandal his re-elect number dropped to 36 and the White House had to dispatch Karl Rove to Montana to clean things up. Can the GOP afford to have any others implicated?
The DeLay offensive that the GOP is plotting will probably be remembered as the best thing to ever happen to the Democratic Party in a long time. The GOP seems to be going out of their way to tie Republicans to a corrupt lawmaker who is so unpopular he'll lose his re-election if he isn't locked up first.
DeLay's days our numbered, but thanks to the wingnuts, this will drag out far longer than it should.
The 2006 backlash is coming.
Saturday, April 09, 2005
TX-22: Tom DeLay Corruption: Drop the HammerPosted by Bob Brigham
I have taken a previous look at Drop the Hammer, but I wanted to come back to the subject to focus on a couple of key points in the effort to expose Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay as corrupt.
First of all, I think www.DropTheHammer.org deserves some serious credit. The Drop the Hammer effort deserves an 11 on a ten point scale when it comes to online activism. The American Progress Action Fund has given clear notice that companies willing to facilitate corruption will face accountability.
But what I really like about the Drop the Hammer effort is the flow-chart of the corruption. If you care at all about America's democracy, you should check out the DeLay corruption page on Drop the Hammer.
Thursday, April 07, 2005
Tom DeLay and Brian DarlingPosted by Bob Brigham
Now the Campaign for America's Future is demanding an explanation:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: THURSDAY, APR 7, 2005
CAMPAIGN FOR AMERICA’S FUTURE DEMANDS EXPLANATION OF TOM DELAY’S DARLING RELATIONSHIP
Majority Leader Connected to GOP Schiavo Strategy Memo Author
WASHINGTON – The Campaign for America’s Future today challenged House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, to explain his relationship to corporate lobbyist Brian H. Darling. Darling is the author of the Republican strategy memo that said the personal tragedy of Terri Schiavo presents a “great political issue” for Republicans.
Rep. DeLay last month told the conservative Family Research Council that "God brought to us" the Terri Schiavo tragedy and linked it to a strategy to defend the conservative movement.
Darling worked for the Alexander Strategy Group, a Washington-based corporate lobbying firm heavily connected to Rep. DeLay. Darling’s clients included Universal Bearing, Inc., a company owned by the Hanwha Group, which has direct ties to the foreign agent that paid for Rep. DeLay's improper trip to Korea. The Korea-U.S. Exchange Council was created to promote Hanwha Group Chairman Seung Youn Kim, according to the New York Times.
The Alexander Strategy Group was formed by Rep. DeLay’s former Chief of Staff Ed Buckham, who also introduced Rep. DeLay to corporate lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Former DeLay aide Jim Ellis, who was indicted for money laundering, was a consultant to ASG. Former DeLay staffer Tony Rudy, former DeLay PAC director Karl Gallant, and Rep. DeLay’s spouse, Christine DeLay, all worked for ASG.
The Campaign for America’s Future last week launched a television and newspaper ad campaign to hold Rep. DeLay accountable, highlighting the controversy surrounding the House Majority Leader who is increasingly seen as a liability to his party.
The DeLay corruption appears to have infested the entire Republican Party. Every day we learn more and every day more Republicans are joining Senator Rick Santorum in being publically linked to DeLay. And things are just warming up...
TX-22: Tom DeLay vulnerable; Democrats gearing upPosted 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."
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
TX-22: Drop the HammerPosted by Bob Brigham
And now there is a new website:
The website is targeting the corporation funding the corruption Majority Leader:
Tell Corporate America to Drop the Hammer House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is widely regarded as the most powerful member of Congress. DeLay's abuse of this power has encircled him in a web of scandal. He has already been admonished three times by the bipartisan House Ethics Committee and a political action committee he set up in Texas is currently the subject of a grand jury investigation.
A network of large corporate backers have come, cash-in-hand, to DeLay's defense. American Airlines, Bacardi USA, Nissan USA, RJ Reynolds, and Verizon have all contributed thousands to Tom DeLay's Legal Defense Fund.
Send a message to these corporations and tell them to stop enabling Tom DeLay's unethical behavior. Let these corporations know that unless they stop supporting Tom DeLay, you'll stop supporting them.
The website has an easy-to-use form to send the following letter:
I am writing concerning [Company's] contribution of $[XXXX] to Tom DeLay's Legal Expense Trust.
The bi-paritsan House Ethics Committee has rebuked Tom DeLay three times. DeLay's Texans for a Republican Majority political action committee is the subject of a grand jury investigation for money laundering and illegal campaign contributions. Three of DeLay's closest associates have already been indicted.
Everyday the accounts of Tom DeLay's corruption get worse and worse. Prominent conservative voices, such as the Wall Street Journal editorial page, are saying that Tom DeLay has gone too far.
As a consumer, it's unacceptable to me for your company to support Tom DeLay's unethical behavior. It is time to restore ethics in Washington. It is time to demand more of our politicians.
You can restore my confidence in your company by:
(1) providing an explanation of why your company contributed to Tom DeLay's Legal Expense Trust;
(2) pledging that you won't donate any more money to Tom DeLay's Legal Expense Trust; and
(3) formally requesting that Tom DeLay's Legal Expense Trust return the money you have already contributed
I look forward to a response from you on this important matter.
I used their form to voice my displeasure. You should too.
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Senator John CornynPosted by Bob Brigham
Apropos of Sen. John Cornyn's suggestion today that judicial activism may be an underlying cause of the rash of murders of judges and their families, perhaps the Democrats need to introduce a sense of the senate resolution condemning those who threaten violence against judges or offer excuses for those who commit violent acts against members of the bench.
Monday, April 04, 2005
TX-22 New Tom DeLay poll shows drastic shiftPosted by Bob Brigham
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's footing among his constituents has slipped drastically during the past year and a majority of his district disapproves of how he handled the Terri Schiavo case, according to a Houston Chronicle poll.
Nearly 40 percent of the 501 voters questioned Wednesday through Friday said their opinion of the powerful Sugar Land Republican is less favorable than last year, compared with 11 percent who said their view of him has improved.
But check this out, the Majority Leader's re-elect number is below 40.
Yet 45 percent said they would vote for someone other than DeLay if a congressional election in the 22nd District were at hand; 38 percent said they would stick with him.
"There seems to be no question that there has been an erosion in support for the congressman," said John Zogby, whose polling company, Zogby International, performed the survey. "He is posting numbers that one would have to consider in the dangerous territory for an incumbent. And he isn't just an incumbent, he is a longtime incumbent."
Tom Delay has a 38% re-elect number!
Schiavo backfires on Congressman Tom Delay:
On the Schiavo issue, DeLay consistently has stated that his constituents backed his decision to lead Congress into the dispute over whether to continue nourishment to the severely brain-damaged Florida woman.
"Everywhere I went (in the district) people were ... very supportive of the efforts to try and save her," DeLay said Wednesday at Sugar Land Regional Airport.
But nearly 69 percent of people in the poll, including substantial majorities of Democrats and Republicans, said they opposed the government's intervention in the longstanding family battle.
Respondents in the Chronicle survey also were critical of DeLay's individual role. Nearly 58 percent disapproved of his decision to get Congress involved. [...]
DeLay argued that his morals guided him in the case of Schiavo, who died Thursday. But nearly half of those polled said he intervened in the case for political gain.
Saturday, April 02, 2005
U.S. Senate "Nuclear Option" and 2006 midterm electionsPosted by Bob Brigham
If the GOP pushes forward with this power grab, it will force a major backlash against Republicans in the 2006 midterm elections. During the Schiavo usurpation, Bush dropped 10 pts in the time it took for Santorum to permanently tie himself to the issue.
If the GOP continues their quest for absolute power, the backlash will be severe. Already, Democrats have 12 Republican Senators (facing re-election in 2006) on record with their Social Security vote.
It has become conventional wisdom that Americans oppose the GOP plan to privatize Social Security. If the GOP moves for absolute control of the Senate while Bush forces privatization then the storyline gets a villian in a potent way. Add Tom DeLay as the public face of Republicans in Congress, a splintering of the conservative coalition, and a united Democratic Party. Together, this could result in a major restructuring of party perception in a nationalized 2006 midterm election cycle.
Senator Bill Frist (R-TN) wants to be President so he needs to protect his record. In addition, the following Republican Senators need to worry about running for re-election in 2006:
- Senator George Allen (R-VA)*
- Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT)*
- Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-RI)*
- Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH)
- Senator John Ensign (R-NV)*
- Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)*
- Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)*
- Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ)*
- Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)*
- Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN)*
- Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)*
- Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
- Senator Jim Talent (R-MO)*
- Senator Craig Thomas (R-WY)*
* Social Security: on record voting in favor of "deep benefit cuts or a massive increase in debt."
In addition, such a move would allow the following Democrats a hero vote to bolster their 2006 re-elections:
- Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
- Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
- Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV)
- Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
- Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE)
- Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
- Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND)
- Senator Jon Corzine (D-NJ)
- Senator Mark Dayton (D-MN)
- Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
- Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA)
- Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI)
- Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT)
- Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE)
- Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL)
- Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Posted at 06:36 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Arizona, Indiana, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Nuclear Option, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming | Technorati
Friday, April 01, 2005
TX-22: Delay violates 18 U.S.C. §115 (a)(1)(B)Posted by Bob Brigham
From Raw Story:
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) has issued a strongly-worded letter to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) over his recent remarks threatening those involved with the Schiavo case, which Lautenberg takes to mean federal judges, RAW STORY has learned.
April 1, 2005
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Majority Leader DeLay,
I was stunned to read the threatening comments you made yesterday against Federal judges and our nation’s courts of law in general. In reference to certain Federal judges, you stated: “The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior.”
As you are surely aware, the family of Federal Judge Joan H. Lefkow of Illinois was recently murdered in their home. And at the state level, Judge Rowland W. Barnes and others in his courtroom were gunned down in Georgia.
Our nation’s judges must be concerned for their safety and security when they are asked to make difficult decisions every day. That’s why comments like those you made are not only irresponsible, but downright dangerous. To make matters worse, is it appropriate to make threats directed at specific Federal and state judges?
You should be aware that your comments yesterday may violate a Federal criminal statute, 18 U.S.C. §115 (a)(1)(B). That law states:
“Whoever threatens to assault…. or murder, a United States judge… with intent to retaliate against such… judge…. on account of the performance of official duties, shall be punished [by up to six years in prison]”
Threats against specific Federal judges are not only a serious crime, but also beneath a Member of Congress. In my view, the true measure of democracy is how it dispenses justice. Your attempt to intimidate judges in America not only threatens our courts, but our fundamental democracy as well.
Federal judges, as well as state and local judges in our nation, are honorable public servants who make difficult decisions every day. You owe them – and all Americans – an apology for your reckless statements.
Frank R. Lautenberg
TX-22: GOP turns on Tom DelayPosted by Bob Brigham
If you are even remotely interested in what goes on the today's Republican Party, you should read this.
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
TX-22 Tom Delay corruption ads launchPosted by Bob Brigham
NEW TV ADS HIGHLIGHT TOM DELAY’S CORRUPTION
Campaign for America’s Future Fights Most Corrupt Congress’ Abuse of Power
WASHINGTON – The Campaign for America’s Future unveiled a new television ad today that urges Congress to “wash its hands” of Rep. Tom DeLay, highlighting the controversy surrounding the House majority leader, who is increasingly seen as a liability to his party.
The Campaign for America’s Future spot begins airing Thursday throughout Rep. Delay’s Texas district and on major news stations in Washington. The initial $75,000 buy runs for a full week.
Text of the ad:
“Washing Hands” TV :30
Tom DeLay. He’d like to wash his hands of corruption.
He'd like you to forget he's been accused of accepting a gift worth thousands from a foreign agent.
He'd like you to forget that two of his close associates have been indicted for money laundering.
Tom DeLay can’t wash his hands of corruption by involving Congress in one family’s personal tragedy.
[Onscreen: www.ourfuture.org, paid for by the Campaign for America’s Future.]
But Congress can certainly wash its hands of Tom DeLay.
The Public Campaign Action Fund ads are available for viewing at www.pcactionfund.org/resign.
Saturday, March 26, 2005
TX-22 Tom DeLay flops; GOP stompsPosted by Bob Brigham
"Mrs. Schiavo's life is not slipping away, it is being violently wrenched from her body in an act of medical terrorism."
"Right now, murder is being committed against a defenceless American citizen. Mrs Schiavo's life is being violently wrenched from her body in an act of medical terrorism. What is happening to her is not compassion, it is homicide."
One senior GOP lawmaker involved in the negotiations, who did not want to speak for the record, said that DeLay, who is fighting ethics charges on several fronts, faced considerable pressure from Christian conservative groups to respond to pleas by the parents of the brain-damaged woman to intervene before her husband, Michael Schiavo, removed the feeding tube that kept her alive. The lawmaker said that DeLay "wanted to follow through" but added that many House Republicans were dubious and suspected that the leader's ethics problems were a motivating factor.
Republican concerns grew, the senior House GOP lawmaker said, as a succession of federal judges, some of them conservative appointees, rejected Congress's entreaty. "A lot of members are saying, 'Why did you put us through this?' " said the lawmaker, who agreed to recount the events on the condition that he not be named.
Republicans are pissed. DeLay is burning Political Capital:
Just about the time when you think you've heard enough, the politicians enter the fray, particularly one headline-sniffer of note, Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, who is burning up all of his political capital on this issue and encouraging fellow compassionate conservatives to use this case to build a moral foundation for the next elections. I want no part of the karma that will come back to haunt him for trying to cash in politically on somebody else's misery.
Grover Norquist is pissed...
"Advocates of using federal power to keep this woman alive need to seriously study the polling data that's come out on this," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, who has been talking to both social and economic conservatives about the fallout. "I think that a lot of conservative leaders assumed there was broader support for saying that they wanted to have the federal government save this woman's life."
On Meet the Press, the discussion is on Stephen Moore being pissed off...
Mr. Harwood: Well, as polarized as our politics are, Republicans feel that now they're in control of the Congress, they can also be in control to a greater extent of the ethics process and they're not likely to enable Democrats to do things that are going to erode their popularity.
Ms. Ifill: Now, here's a weak point in that argument which is there are Republicans--the "NewsHour" this week that Stephen Moore was there who's Club for Growth, Free Enterprise Foundation.
Mr. Russert: Free Enterprise Foundation.
Ms. Ifill: He is one of Tom DeLay's staunchest supporters. He thinks Tom DeLay, the moon rises and sets on him, but even he said, "I'm a little concerned about this ethics question. I think we should be addressing that." He doesn't think that smells particularly right. That's where the cracks begin in the GOP armor where they disagree about how you handle these questions.
Even worse, in DeLay's TX-22, local Republican Officials are pissed off.
The worst case scenario for the GOP is for people to realize that Delay is crooked, nuts, and running the show. That is why the economic conservatives are scared to death when they see AP stories like this:
DeLay, 57, was first elected to Congress in 1984, representing Houston suburbs, and has risen to become one of the most influential conservatives on Capitol Hill.
He fights government regulation at every turn, a position hardened during the years before he came to Washington when he ran a pest control business and railed at "Gestapo" environmental regulators. He's also a leader among religious conservatives, pushing for a more God-centered nation.
Ahead of the 2000 presidential race, he outlined a vision where "we march forward with a biblical worldview, a worldview that says God is our Creator, that man is a sinner, and that we will save this country by changing the hearts and minds of Americans."
"We have the House and the Senate. All we need is the presidency!"
Despite a growing ethics cloud over the past six months, he remains enormously influential.[...]
Republicans tried and failed to change House rules so DeLay could remain majority leader in case he is indicted. They then replaced the panel's GOP chairman, who presided over the rebukes, along with two GOP members who supported them.
"I don't see this as a witch hunt," said Kathleen Clark, a government ethics expert at Washington University in St. Louis. "I see it as a question of whether anyone can do anything to hold someone that powerful accountable."
Friday, March 25, 2005
TX-22 Tom Delay in local pressPosted by Bob Brigham
Last fall, Fort Bend GOP officer Bev Carter was censured for calling Tom Delay a "scoundrel" and endorsing his opponent:
Tom has openly declared himself sent by God to "stand up for a biblical world view in everything I do and everywhere I am." For him, politics is a "battle of souls." He says that he seeks a "God-centered" nation that, among other things, would curb contraception, discriminate against homosexuals, outlaw abortion, end the separation of church and state, and post the Ten Commandments in every school (even though Tom has violated more than a few of the Ten himself).
He states that "our nation will only be healed through a rebirth of religious conviction and moral certitude." The thing that concerns me is that this biblical world view sounds suspiciously like the "end times" prophets and I don't really like someone who wants to see the end of the world be the same someone with the power to affect the end of the world.
Bev Carter is the owner/publisher of the Fort Bend Star and it appears has more to say:
I don't want to be a one trick pony by constantly castigating only Tom DeLay, although he makes it a tempting and easy target. But I did want to take this space to point out that many local Republicans believe that we should support him, warts and all and are willing to toss me out if I don't! I believe that we should hold public officials to a higher standard. And I also believe that Fort Bend County is such a wonderful place that we need and deserve only the very best to represent us.
Carter has been vindicated, this time many more will join her...
Let's see. Since the Fort Bend Republican Party censured me for supporting Tom DeLay's opponent, we have discovered this about Tom DeLay:
Two of DeLay's close friends, former spokesman Michael Scanlon and long-time advisor Jack Abramoff, are being investigated for the millions of dollars they defrauded from several Indian tribes and how some of that money may have illegally helped DeLay's political operations Delay and his wife and several aides took a $70,000 trip to England paid for by questionable means. DeLay is being looked at because of a trip to S. Korea which was allegedly paid for by the Korea-U.S. Exchange Council, a registered foreign agent DeLay took a 2000 junket to Scotland's St. Andrews golf course which appears to have been financed by the Indian tribes. This is a violation of the House ethics rules. Shortly after the three reprimands DeLay received last year, the chairman of the House Ethics Committee that issued the reprimands and himself a Republican, was removed from the committee along with two other Republicans. They were removed by House Speaker and DeLay toady Dennis Hastert. Two of the new Republicans who were appointed in their place are reportedly DeLay backers and have contributed huge amounts to his legal defense fund.
Thursday, March 24, 2005
TX-22 Tom Delay 2006 Re-ElectionPosted by Bob Brigham
Conventional wisdom says Congressman Tom Delay will be doing a perp-walk instead of running for re-election.
Today, Common Cause pulled together an overview detailing many of the unethical actions of the Majority Leader.
Tom DeLay's Transgressions: A Pattern of MisbehaviorAnd here are the QandA:
Unprecedented four admonishments by unanimous votes of the bipartisan House Ethics Committee
- K Street Project (1999) - Admonished for threatening Electronic Industries Alliance for not hiring a Republican as its president. The Ethics Committee itself initiated this investigation.
Source: "Ethics Panel Chastises DeLay For Threatening Trade Group," The Washington Post, May 14, 1999
- Westar Energy (2004) - Admonished for creating at least the "appearance" that Westar Energy executives were provided special access at a West Virginia golf retreat as result of $25,000 in corporate contributions to Texans for a Republican Majority, a political group affiliated with DeLay. At the time of the retreat, the House was about to consider an energy bill that Westar hoped to influence. A complaint filed by former Rep. Chris Bell (D-TX) initiated this investigation. Link
Source: Memorandum to Members of the House Ethics Committee
- Texas Redistricting (2004) - Admonished for using government resources for a political undertaking. Delay's staff contacted the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) during the 2003 Texas redistricting battle to obtain information from FAA databases on the whereabouts of Democratic Members of the Texas House who had fled Austin in a plane for the purpose of denying the House a quorum. A complaint filed by Bell initiated this investigation. Link
Source: Memorandum to Members of the House Ethics Committee
- Medicare Bill (2004) - Admonished for offering to endorse Rep. Nick Smith's (R-MI) son, who would be running for Congress, on the House floor in exchange for Rep. Smith's vote in favor of the Medicare/prescription drug bill. The Ethics Committee itself initiated this investigation. Link
Source: Investigation of Certain Allegations Related to Voting on the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003
- Illegal Campaign Contributions (2005) - The House Ethics Committee last year was asked to investigate Rep. DeLay for allegedly using his political action committee, Texans for a Republican Majority (TRMPAC), to launder corporate money to Texas state campaigns in 2002, a violation of state law. The committee decided not to take action on the complaint until after Travis County (Austin), Texas District Aattorney Ronnie Earle completes his investigation of TRMPAC activities and until indictments against DeLay associates in Texas are disposed of. Link
Source: Memorandum to Members of the House Ethics Committee
Questionable Conduct (not considered by House Ethics Committee)
- Celebrations for Children (CFC) - This charity, which counted DeLay political operatives among its officers, planned to sell tee times to Long Island golf courses, as well as VIP tickets to Broadway plays, yacht cruises and other events that offered access to DeLay during the 2004 Republican convention in New York. The plan was an attempt to misuse the charity's IRS tax-exempt status to circumvent the ban on raising soft money. After the charity's plan drew unfavorable attention from the House Ethics Committee, the charity backed away from its convention plans.
Source: "Charity Tied to DeLay Is Questioned; Group Asks Lawmakers To Demand Ethics Probe," Washington Post, March 24, 2004
- Cruise Ship in N.Y.C. - DeLay proposed anchoring the 2,224-passenger Norwegian Dawn cruise ship in the Hudson to accommodate Republicans during the Republican National Convention as an exclusive hotel for lawmakers, lobbyists and special guests. This plan was criticized for providing an environment of special access for large contributors to elected officials. The idea was scrapped after unfavorable publicity.
Source: "They'll Take Manhattan: Republicans Drop Ship Idea," The New York Times, December 3, 2003
- Legal Defense Fund Contributions - After Public Citizen complained about possible ethics violations, DeLay was forced to return contributions to his legal defense fund from registered lobbyists because House ethics rules explicitly prohibit such contributions. Link
Source: "Gifts Broke Rules, DeLay Trustee Says," The New York Times, December 8, 2004
The Latest Ethics Allegations Against Tom DeLay
- Accepting illegal gifts of foreign travel, lodging and an exclusive golf outing from lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Although DeLay listed the nonprofit National Center for Public Policy Research as the sponsor of a $70,000 trip, Abramoff reportedly had actually solicited checks from two of his clients, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and eLottery Inc., to pay for the trip through the nonprofit group. Two months after the trip, DeLay helped kill legislation opposed by the tribe and the company.
Source: "Probe of Abramoff and Nonprofits' Money Opens; Senate Finance Committee Seeks Records on Trips by Reps. DeLay and Ney, Donations to Indian Tribes," The Washington Post, March 17, 2005
- Taking trip to South Korea with other House Members and staff funded by Korea-U.S. Exchange Council, a business-financed group created with the help of a lobbying firm headed by DeLay's former chief of staff. The Council is a registered foreign agent, and House rules state: "a Member, officer or employee may not accept travel expenses from a registered lobbyist or agent of a foreign principal."
Source: "S. Korean Group Sponsored DeLay Trip; Visits May Have Broken House Rules," The Washington Post, March 10, 2005
Protecting Delay: Changing Ethics Rules
- Changed House ethics rules to let a complaint die if the ethics committee cannot decide whether it should be investigated within 45 days.
Source: "After Retreat, G.O.P. Changes House Ethics Rule," The New York Times, January 5, 2005
- Changed House ethics rules to allow either party to block an ethics investigation by voting along party lines, thus denying a majority vote to allow it to proceed.
Source: "After Retreat, G.O.P. Changes House Ethics Rule," The New York Times, January 5, 2005
- Changed House ethics rules to allow several members involved in a single ethics investigation to hire the same attorney. House rules prohibited this in order to ensure one attorney could not gain access to too much information and prevent coordination of testimony.
- The House Republican conference changed its internal rules, rescinding a provision that required a member to step down from a leadership post if indicted. This rule change was later rescinded after adverse publicity. Link
Source: "GOP Pushes Rule Change To Protect DeLay's Post," The Washington Post, November 17, 2004
- Unsuccessful attempts were made to change House ethics rules to eliminate the broad rule that Members should conduct themselves in a manner that "reflects creditably" on the House. This had been the basis for sanctions by the ethics committee and the House. Link
Source: "House to Consider Relaxing Its Rules; GOP Leaders Seek Ethics Changes," The Washington Post, December 31, 2004
Protecting Delay: Ethics Committee Purge
- Speaker Dennis Hastert removed Rep. Joel Hefley (D-CO) as chairman of the Ethics Committee that oversaw three admonishments of DeLay in 2004. Prior to his removal, Hefley said of Republican colleagues he would not name: "They said I was hurting my career here. The implication is that some form of retribution would be taken." Hefley also told a newspaper after the third DeLay admonishment: "I've been attacked; I've been threatened." Link
Sources: "Ethics Panel's Chair Is the Toughest Seat in the House," The Washington Post, January 7, 2005; "Hefley: `I was threatened'," The Hill, October 13, 2004
- Replaced the two members of the Ethics Committee, Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R-MO) and Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH), who both admonished DeLay and voted against the Republican Conference rule changes to protect DeLay, with two Republican loyalists, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Tom Cole (R-OK). Smith and Cole contributed $10,000 and $5,000, respectively, to DeLay's legal defense fund. Smith also co-hosted a fundraiser with DeLay for Texans' for a Republican Majority, which is now the subject of a grand jury instigation. Link
Source: "Ethics Purge," The Washington Post, February 5, 2005
- Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA), who replaced Hefley as Ethics Committee chairman, fired several longtime committee staffers, including John Vargo, the staff director and chief counsel, and Paul Lewis, a counsel. Hastings' office defended his decision to replace Vargo and Lewis as standard practice for a new chairman, although both Vargo and Lewis had been working on the committee since before Hefley was its chairman. Link
Source: "Critics Slam Hastings' Dismissal of Ethics Staff," Roll Call, February 17, 2005
Protecting Delay: Intimidate Accusers
- After being scolded twice by the Ethics Committee in one week, DeLay responded through his lawyer with a letter to the chairman of the House Rules Committee alleging Rep. Bell's complaint was filed in order to "raise funds for non-member groups," specifically Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). The letter stated "Bell and CREW lodged libelous and specious allegations against Majority Leader DeLay ... apparently with blatant disregard to the veracity of their statements." In response, Ethics Committee Chairman Helfey said: "If DeLay and his lawyer feel he was treated unfairly, they can come back and we can open it all back up again." Link
Source: "DeLay attacks accuser after ethics panel rebuke," The Washington Times, October 9, 2004
- Even though the Ethics Committee admonished DeLay for two of the allegations raised in a complaint filed by Rep. Chris Bell (R-TX) (and is withholding a ruling on a third allegation pending the outcome of prosecutions in Texas), the Ethics Committee in November 2004 warned Bell against using "excessive or inflammatory language or exaggerated charges" and threatened disciplinary action against Members who filed complaints the committee considered excessive or inflammatory. This action serves to discourage the already rare Member-filed complaint to the ethics committee. Link
Source: "Foe of DeLay Rebuked By House Ethics Panel," The New York Times, November 20, 2004
- Retaliation against Ronnie Earle, the Texas district attorney who is investigating possible violations by DeLay. Specifically, legislation introduced in the GOP-dominated Texas legislature to halt Earle's high-profile grand jury probe. The legislation would have taken authority over campaign finance violations from the district attorney and given it to a special office in the Texas Ethics Commission that would have the power to stop district attorneys from prosecuting election code violations. Link
Source: "Texas Ethics Bill Could Allow Appointees to Bar Prosecutions," The Washington Post, February 20, 2005
Fixing the Problem?
- Mollohan Resolution: Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-WV), the ranking member of the House Ethics Committee, introduced a resolution (H Res. 131) March 1, 2005 that would undo the controversial changes made to the House ethics rules at the beginning of the 109th Congress. The resolution would repeal the new rule allowing either party to block an investigation by voting along party lines; repeal the new rule allowing a case to die if the committee takes no action within 45 days; repeal the new "collusion" rule, allowing one lawyer to represent more than on individual involved in an ethics case. The resolution has 206 co-sponsors, including Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT) and former Ethics Committee Chairman Rep. Joel Hefley (R-CO). It has been referred to the House Rules Committee and a subcommittee, ironically, also chaired by the new ethics committee chairman, Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA), who can block the resolution from moving. Mollohan has threatened a discharge petition if the resolution is not brought to the House floor. Link
Source: "Mollohan Offers Resolution To Reverse Ethics Changes," National Journal's CongressDaily, March 02, 2005
- Committee Organization Stalls: Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV), ranking member of the Ethics Committee and his Democratic colleagues on the panel refused to allow the committee to operate under the new rules adopted at the beginning of the session. They blocked the committee from organizing or operating in the new Congress until the new rules changes are repealed. Link
Source: "Ethics Panel Faces Organizational Fight," Roll Call, March 10, 2005
- Pelosi "Privileged" Resolution: Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the House minority leader, introduced a "privileged" resolution (H. Res. 153) March 15, 2005, that would have established a bipartisan task force to recommend changes to House ethics rules. The House voted to table (kill) the motion, 223-194, along party lines, except that Rep. Joel Hefley (R-CO) voted against tabling. (To read the resolution and House debate on it, click here. For a breakdown of how House members voted, click here.)
Source: "Hefley joins Dems on ethics," The Hill, March 16, 2005
- <font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #c1ccd9" face="Times New Roman" color="#000000" size="3">Slaughter Request of the House Rules Committee: In a March 17, 2005 letter, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), ranking member of the House Rules Committee, asked Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-CA) to hold hearings on the House ethics process and move the Mollohan resolution. (link to Slaughter news release)
- Hastings Requests More Funding for Ethics Committee Despite Staff Cuts: Ethics Committee chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) asked the House Administration Committee for an additional $1.7 million in its fiscal 2006 budget, 55 percent more than the $3.1 million it received this year. Hastings claims the additional money would be used to add staff to increase the committee's "investigative capability" and improve ethics education for Members and staff. Ironically, this request comes a month after Hastings dismissed John Vargo, a member of the ethics committee staff since 1996, and Paul Lewis, a former Justice Department lawyer who joined the committee staff in 1997. Currently, the Ethics Committee can not conduct any business until the face-off over accepting the controversial new ethics rules forced through the Houseis resolved.
Source: "Hastings Seeks $1.7M Increase For Revamped Ethics Panel," National Journal's CongressDaily, March 17, 2005
Q&A on DeLay
What's the problem?
The problem is a pattern of abuse and intimidation by Tom DeLay and Republican leaders, who have conspired to protect DeLay and in the process eliminated - at least for now ethics enforcement in the House.
As you know, the majority leader has been admonished for his unethical conduct four times since 1999. The latest admonishments for DeLay last fall were too much for House leaders, who felt like the ethics process had gotten out of their control. So they privately wrote some ethics rules changes that virtually guarantee no new ethics investigations will begin. Then they fired the chairman of the Ethics Committee, Joel Hefley, and two other members and replaced them with members widely viewed to be party loyalists, including two who gave money to DeLay's legal defense fund.
Then the Democrats on the Ethics Committee refused to accept the ethics rules changes, thereby preventing the committee from organizing and allowing it to conduct business.
So you essentially have a defunct Ethics Committee, while at the same time, numerous allegations have piled up in recent weeks about Tom DeLay - and other members of Congress - taking expensive trips that were illegally paid for by lobbyists and foreign agents.
Tom DeLay and his supporters say this is nothing more than a partisan witch hunt. Is that true?
That's laughable. Tom DeLay has four times been admonished by the unanimous vote of a bipartisan Ethics Committee in a Republican-dominated House. The only partisan witch hunt underway is being carried out by the Republicans, who have trashed the ethics process to protect Delay and have retaliated against their own colleagues for admonishing Delay. Joel Hefley, the former chairman of the Ethics Committee, and two other members of the ethics committee - along with two senior staff -- were thrown off the committee for doing their jobs.
What happened to the Ethics Committee from last year that admonished Tom DeLay?
Three of the five Republicans on that panel were fired. Joel Hefley, the chairman, was replaced by Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA), who is widely viewed as a party loyalist. In addition, Reps. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Tom Cole (R-OK) were added to the panel. Smith donated $10,000 to DeLay's legal defense fund and Cole donated $5,000.
Why should Tom DeLay and others caught up in the junket scandal get in trouble when they claim they didn't realize who was paying for the trips?
Members of Congress have an obligation and responsibility to find out who is paying for the trip before they travel.
What about Tom DeLay and his travel problems? Don't all members of Congress take those expensive trips, Democrats and Republicans?
Yes, and that's just another reason we need a strong bipartisan Ethics Committee with the will and power to conduct thorough investigations and answer tough questions. If you don't have that, when these questions are left to float around in the press and on the internet, how can the public have confidence in its elected officials and government?
If Congress is to command the respect, trust and confidence of the people, the members who serve in it, especially the leaders, must operate and must be perceived as operating according to high standards of fair and ethical conduct.
What is the Mollohan resolution?
Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-WV), the ranking member of the House Ethics Committee, introduced a bill (H Res 131) March 1 that would undo the changes made to the House ethics rules at the beginning of the 109th Congress. The resolution has 206 co-sponsors, including Republican Reps. Christopher Shays (R-CT) and Joel Hefley (R-CO), the former ethics committee chairman. It has been referred to the House Rules Committee.
What is the Pelosi resolution?
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the House minority leader, introduced a resolution (H Res 153) March 15 that would have established a bipartisan task force to recommend changes to House ethics rules. The House instead voted to table the motion, 223-194. (To read the resolution and House debate on it, click here. For a breakdown of how House members voted, click here
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Vote on Social SecurityPosted by Bob Brigham
Yesterday, the Senate gave the following statement an up or down vote:"It is the sense of the Senate that Congress should reject any Social Security plan that requires deep benefit cuts or a massive increase in debt."
Here are the 12 Senators (standing for re-election in 2006) who voted for deep social security cuts and massive debt:
Allen, George VA
Burns, Conrad MT
Chafee, Lincoln RI
Ensign, John NV
Hatch, Orrin UT
Hutchison, Kay Bailey TX
Kyl, Jon AZ
Lott, Trent MS
Lugar, Richard IN
Santorum, Rick PA
Talent, Jim MO
Thomas, Craig WY
Here is the link to the vote.
Thursday, March 10, 2005
Richard Morrison for TX22Posted by Bob Brigham
I had just published a post on Texas 22 when I saw this on Kos:Netroots Make it Happen by Richard Morrison for Congress
Texas 22Posted by Bob Brigham
Could TX22 come into play?
Last week, the Washington Post ran a story that noted:House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), struggling to protect his Washington power base as legal and ethical issues fester, also has to watch his back on the home front.
Though the change has received little notice, DeLay's strength in his suburban Houston congressional district of strip malls and housing developments has eroded considerably -- forcing him to renew his focus on protecting his seat.
DeLay garnered 55 percent of the vote in the November election against a relatively unknown Democrat, an unusually modest showing for a veteran House member who is one of the most powerful politicians in Washington. Some Republican officials and DeLay supporters worry that with President Bush absent from the top of the ticket next year, liberal interest groups might target the conservative majority leader and spend millions of dollars on campaign ads to try to defeat him.
Yesterday, the New York Times exposed:Documents subpoenaed from an indicted fund-raiser for Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, suggest that Mr. DeLay was more actively involved than previously known in gathering corporate donations for a political committee that is the focus of a grand-jury investigation in Texas, his home state.
The documents, which were entered into evidence last week in a related civil trial in Austin, the state capital, suggest that Mr. DeLay personally forwarded at least one large corporate check to the committee, Texans for a Republican Majority, and that he was in direct contact with lobbyists for some of the nation's largest companies on the committee's behalf.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post spent yesterday alerting readers:A delegation of Republican House members including Majority Leader Tom DeLay accepted an expense-paid trip to South Korea in 2001 from a registered foreign agent despite House rules that bar the acceptance of travel expenses from foreign agents, according to government documents and travel reports filed by the House members.[...]
It spent at least $106,921 to finance the three-day trip in 2001 from Washington to Seoul by the Republicans, which DeLay (Tex.) and accompanying staff assistants described at the time as having an "educational" purpose.
Today, he was treated at Bethesda National Naval Medical Center for heart problems.
What does the DCCC say about targeting DeLay?But when asked if House majority leader Tom DeLay (R) of Texas is on his list of vulnerable incumbents he wants to go after, the feisty Emanuel reemerged: "If I told you, I would have to kill you!" he said, smiling broadly. "There are no districts that are absolutely off the table."
Indeed, ever since DeLay emerged as the enforcer to low-key House Speaker Dennis Hastert (another Illinoisian), the Democrats have been itching to oust DeLay from his perch — much the way the Republicans ousted the sitting Speaker, Tom Foley, from his congressional seat in the sea-change election of 1994. A look at DeLay's performance last November — winning reelection with just 55% of the vote — combined with recent rebukes over ethics and continuing investigations reveals the potential for vulnerability.
If God doesn't strike him down and he stays out of jail, he will still be vulnerable. I say we continue to hit him with everything we've got. At the very least, we can pin him down in Texas.
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
TX-22 Majority Leader Tom DeLayPosted by Bob Brigham
The dkosopedia entry on Tom Delay will be growing rapidly. Here is a snapshot:Thomas Dale DeLay (born April 8, 1947) is is the current majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives. He is a Republican from Texas and is well-known for his far-right stances on both foreign and domestic policy issues.
Biography and early political career
He was born in Laredo, Texas, and lived part of his childhood in Venezuela due to his father's work in the oil and gas industry. DeLay graduated from the University of Houston in 1970 and went into the pest control business. DeLay ran offices and mixed chemicals at several marginally profitable exterminator businesses though it is purported that he did not actually go to people's houses and kill rats and roaches himself.
DeLay was elected to the Texas State House in 1978 and then was elected to the US House of Representatives in 1984, representing the Texas 22nd Congressional District of Sugar Land. He became a "born-again Christian" in 1985. Before he became a born-again Christian, DeLay had the nickname "Hot Tub Tommy" and was known for drinking and partying, as well as a fierce passion for deregulation.
DeLay has two brothers and one sister—he is estranged from one brother and his sister, and has an on-again, off-again relationship with his other brother. DeLay is also estranged from his mother, whom he did not invite to his daughter's wedding. DeLay's wife is named Christine and they have one married daughter, Danielle. DeLay has been a foster parent to several troubled teenagers.
As a member of the Republican minority, DeLay made a name for himself in the 1980's by attacking the National Endowment for the Arts and the Environmental Protection Agency. DeLay had a knack for counting votes, and was made a deputy whip by then-Minority Whip Dick Cheney in 1988.
When the Republican Party gained control of the House of Representatives in 1994, DeLay was elected Majority Whip against the wishes of Speaker-elect Newt Gingrich. After serving as Whip for eight years, in DeLay was elected Majority Leader upon the retirement of fellow Texan Dick Armey from the House. Contrary to popular assumption, DeLay was not personally friends with Armey or Gingrich; he considered them intellectual posers who were not committed to Christian values. In 1997 DeLay even tried to topple Gingrich in a parliamentary coup. Nevertheless, at the heyday of the 104th Congress, DeLay described the Republican leadership this way: Gingrich was the visionary, Armey the policy wonk, and DeLay himself was the guy that got everything done.
In Congress, DeLay earned the nickname "The Hammer," for his enforcement of Party discipline in close votes and his reputation for wreaking political vengeance on opponents. In the 104th Congress, which met from 1995 to 1997, DeLay successfully whipped 300 out of 303 bills. DeLay likes his nickname, pointing out that the hammer is one of a carpenter's most valuable tools.
DeLay has accomplished this unprecedented centralization of power in a number of ways. His most significant power is his ability to raise money. Two-thirds of the way through the 2004 election cycle, DeLay raised $2.28 million compared to Dennis Hastert's $1.68 million. DeLay also threatens to "primary" Republican moderates who resist his votes, and uses promises of future committee chairmanships. He can also be personable and generous, sponsoring weekly lunches for the Republican caucus.
DeLay also requires lobbyists to whip bills, something that had never been done before. Said one lobbyist in an interview, "I've had members pull me aside and ask me to talk to another member of Congress about a bill or amendment, but I've never been asked to work on a bill - at least like they are asking us to whip bills now." (The Hammer, 93)
In order to allow Northeastern Republicans to appear moderate to their constituents, DeLay allows these "moderates" to take turns voting against controversial bills - a technique called "catch and release." If a Congressman says a bill is unpopular in his district, DeLay will only make him vote for it if his vote is necessary for passage - if his vote is not needed, he or she will be allowed to vote against the party without reprisal. You can see "catch and release" at work every time a bill passes by one vote. In the 108th Congress, a preliminary Medicare vote passed 216-215, a vote on Head Start passed 217-216, a vote on vouchers for DC passed 209-208. "Fast track," aka "trade promotion authority," passed by one vote as well.
The US Congress has never seen the kind of parliamentary discipline that Tom DeLay has been able to impose. Barney Frank, a liberal Democrat from Massachusetts, commented that the House Republicans "have the same kind of discipline as the British Conservative or Labor Party, that's why anybody who votes for a Republican in November is voting for Tom DeLay." At the conclusion of "the Hammer," Jan Reid and Lou Dubose remark of Frank's insight, "it was a partisan observation but nonetheless valid and insightful. Tom DeLay will someday be elected Speaker. When he does, he will in effect be the first Prime Minister of the United States."
Some have come to call the Republican Congress the "legislative arm of the White House".
On economic and environmental policy, DeLay is rated a 95 by the anti-tax Americans for Tax Reform, and 95 to 100 by the United States Chamber of Commerce, a business lobby. However he earned ratings of 0 from the Sierra Club and League of Conservation Voters. He has been a fervent critic of the EPA, which he has called the "Gestapo of government." DeLay has also sided with business owners over labor unions.
DeLay blames Senate Democrats and what he dubbed "BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything) environmentalists" for blocking legislative solutions to problems such as the 2003 North America blackout. 
His Christian conservative viewpoint led him to vote 100% in line with the views of the National Right to Life Committee and 0% with the National Abortion Reproductive Rights Action League.
In foreign policy, DeLay has been a strong Christian Zionist supporter of the State of Israel, saying, "The Republican leadership, especially that leadership in the House, has made pro-Israel policy a fundamental component of our foreign policy agenda and it drives the Democrat leadership crazy--because they just can't figure out why we do it!" 
On a 2003 trip to Israel, DeLay toured the nation and addressed members of the Knesset. His opposition to land concessions is so strong that the far-right National Union Party deputy Aryeh Eldad revealed "As I shook his hand, I told Tom DeLay that I thought I was the farthest to the right in the Knesset." Former Mossad chief Danny Yatom said "The Likud is nothing compared to this guy." (The Hammer, 236)
DeLay is widely considered to be among the more stridently partisan members of Congress. For example, in discussing the candidates for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, DeLay referred to their "hateful, moronic comments" and added that they had "nothing to offer the public debate but rage, resentment and quackery." 
Misconduct in Texas fundraising
After the 1990 census, the Texas Democrats drew what even some Republicans would argue was the most effective partisan gerrymander in the country. After the 2000 census, Texas Republicans wanted to draw congressional district lines that were more favorable to them, or to gerrymander the Democrats into a small minority, but they were unable to break the Democrats' majority in the Texas legislature. The district lines for the 2000s were thus drawn by a court.
DeLay saw Texas as a great opportunity for the Republicans to pick up as many as seven Congressional seats if they could redraw Congressional district lines in their favor. The only problem the Texas GOP had was Democratic control of the legislature. Republicans were able to gain a majority in the state legislature after a measure for the new state house and senate districts failed. When this happened, a clause of the state constitution was invoked allowing the Legislative Redistricting Board, made up of statewide elected officials (the Lt. Governor, Comptroller, Speaker of the House, Attorney-General, and Land Commissioner) to draw up districts. As only one of these (Speaker Pete Laney) was a Democrat, the result predictably drew districts in which the Republicans had a strong majority in both the House and Senate. To break the Democratic hold on the state legislature and take advantage of the newly drawn districts, DeLay decided to raise large amounts of money and outspend the Democrats in the 2002 elections. In the process of raising that money, corporate money made its way into DeLay's PAC, Americans for a Republican Majority. As part of Texas' progressive legacy, corporate donations are illegal in Texas.
Despite the illegality of the fundraising, which at the time did not come to light, the Republicans were able to beat the Democrats in Texas in 2002. Thus, the Republicans opened up an unprecendented mid-decade district redraw, or gerrymander. In 2003, Texas Democrats from the State House made national headlines when they travelled across the state border to Oklahoma en masse to deny a quorum for voting on the plan. They effectively broke the bill for the time being. When it was brought up again in a special session, the bill was passed by the House, but most of the Senate Democrats went to New Mexico, and killed one special session that way by denying a quorum again, promising to return if Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (the Senate President) would promise them that the two-thirds tradition (not allowing a bill to be debated without two-thirds of the members of the Senate agree). Gov. Rick Perry called them back a second time, and with one member (Senator John Whitmire) deciding to return, the remaining Senate Democrats did as well.
Democrats were only able to hold off the legislative majority for a short time. The Democrat legislators of Texas cried to the press that they had maxed out their credit cards in their effort not to be abducted without a warrant by the state of Texas. The principal and interest on their credit cards, the Democrat legislators are still being forced to pay. Eventually the Democrats returned to Austin to face defeat. In the Texas Senate, the Lt. Governor broke precedent in letting something not supported by a two-thirds majority come to a vote.
Opponents of the plan noted the long tradition of vote splitting between the parties and suggested that such dramatic changes in the makeup of the Texas Congressional Delegation were evidence of gerrymandering, while supporters noted that the Democrats' 17 to 15 edge in the congressional delegation, held since the 1991 Texas redistricting implemented by the Democrats, does not reflect the politics of a state where all 29 statewide office-holders elected are Republicans.
During the summer of 2004, DeLay was investigated for ethical violations stemming from complaints filed by Democratic Representative Chris Bell of Texas.
On September 30, 2004, the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (the "Ethics Committee") found that DeLay had violated House rules in 2003 in his efforts to pass a bill concerning health care. The committee admonished DeLay for having made an offer to Representative Nick Smith, who was retiring, that DeLay would endorse Smith's son for the seat if Smith would vote in favor of the bill. This admonishment caused the conservative-leaning Judicial Watch to issue a call for DeLay to resign as Majority Leader.
On October 6, 2004, the Ethics Committee admonished DeLay for a second time, this time for violations stemming from the Bell complaint. Specifically, it stated that he should not have asked the Federal Aviation Administration to track a small plane that he believed to be carrying Democratic Texas state legislators, who were fleeing to Oklahoma from Texas to prevent a quorum, thus stopping a redistricting plan they did not approve of.
The panel also admonished DeLay for his dealings with Westar Energy, a Kansas-based firm; it cited memos from Westar stating that they believed $56,000 in donations to DeLay's PAC and others would get them "a seat at the table". Subsequently, DeLay appeared at a Westar-hosted golf fundraiser, "just as the House-Senate conference on major energy legislation...was about to get underway". This, the conference stated, violated the requirement that lawmakers may not solicit political donations "that may create even the appearance" that they will lead to special access or special treatment.
However, the committee decided to delay action on Bell's third charge, dealing with improper fundraising by the DeLay-headed Texans for a Republican Majority PAC; Bell charged that it improperly raised funds from corporations to channel to local Texas legislative races. The matter is currently being investigated by a grand jury in Travis County, Texas.
On September 21, 2004, the grand jury indicted three members of Texans for a Republican Majority, including its executive director, on charges of money laundering and accepting illegal campaign contributions. DeLay and his supporters contend that this investigation and the indictments are politically motivated maneuvers by the Democratic Travis County, Texas District Attorney Ronnie Earle - a controversial and colorful political figure with a history of pursuing unconventional indictments against elected officials including Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Fearing a possible indictment of DeLay, which they feel is politically motivated on November 17, 2004, House Republicans changed an early 1990s rule that would force House Leaders to step down if indicted; the new rules will allow a committee to review any indictment to determine if it is politically motivated and if it is not politically motivated the House Leader would be required to step down. However, a firestorm of protest from rank-and-file Republicans forced DeLay himself to back off from the rule change on January 3, 2005.
On November 18, 2004, the Ethics Committee also issued a statement admonishing Bell, advising him that his accusation violated a rule barring "innuendo, speculative assertions or conclusory statements". DeLay responded by criticizing Bell as well as Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.Texas Archive: