Tom DeLay- Corporate Whore

Political soap opera
The plot lines in the race to replace Tom DeLay in Congress just keep getting more tangled.

2006 Houston Chronicle

When former Congressman Tom DeLay bailed out of his District 22 seat a month after winning the Republican nomination this spring, little did he know that his defection would wind up creating dual races, with Democrat Nick Lampson holding the inside track to the one that counts.

A court battle waged by Texas Democrats prevented Republicans from replacing DeLay's name on the ballot. That made Lampson the favorite to win a two-year term in the general election. Write-in candidate Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, a Houston City councilwoman endorsed by the Republican Party, is given little chance to win because of the difficulty in registering write-in votes and the presence of a second certified Republican write-in candidate, Don Richardson.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry added a final touch of the absurd this week by calling a special election on the same date to fill the final two months of DeLay's term. Lampson promptly announced he would not participate in the special election. That means the winner will likely serve in Congress for less than two months before being replaced.

Sekula-Gibbs has filed for the special election. Should she choose to set up a 2008 rematch with Lampson, she would benefit from the brief exposure as a holiday season member of Congress. The drawback is that if she wins the special election she will have to resign her at-large position on City Council, forfeiting a year of political visibility in that position. That would also necessitate a costly special citywide election to replace her on council, triggering a rush of municipal hopefuls to fill out the term.

As a result of the electoral twists and turns, Republicans going to the polls in District 22 in November will need to master the write-in process, and everybody will have to figure out why they are voting for the same seat twice.

However it turns out, this election is guaranteed to provide political scientists a trove of future research material on voter behavior.

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