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Appeals Court: DeLay Must Stay on the Ballot

A New Orleans federal appeals court has ruled that former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's name cannot be removed from the ballot as a candidate for the Texas 22nd District U.S. House seat this November. The decision hands a defeat to the Texas Republican Party, which wanted to replace DeLay with a candidate of their choosing following DeLay's decision to drop out of the race and retire from Congress. The appeals court agreed with a July 6 decision from federal Judge Sam Sparks, who ruled that DeLay's name had to remain on the ballot because under Texas law a candidate selected by primary vote can only be removed from the ballot due to death, devastating illness, or "ineligibility."

When DeLay announced his intention to drop out of the race he also said he would switch his official residence from Texas to Virginia, a move DeLay and the Texas GOP said made him ineligible, and therefore replaceable.

But in his opinion, Judge Sparks said DeLay could not prove with certainty that he would not be in Texas on Election Day, in part because he maintains a family home outside Houston. This point was echoed in the official opinion of the 5th Circuit, which stated, "Proof of DeLay's present residency may suggest where he will be in the future; however, it does not put the matter beyond dispute or question."

This ruling is a huge victory for Texas Democrats, who sued to prevent the GOP from removing DeLay's name and choosing an alternate candidate. The area has a strong Republican tilt, and state Republicans were betting that any Republican candidate besides DeLay would have an easy time beating Democrat Nick Lampson on Election Day. For their part state Democrats hope to make DeLay the poster boy for political corruption, highlighting his indictment by a Texas grand jury on state money laundering charges, plus several scandals involving political associates and former staffers.

This race only gets stranger, however, as DeLay has not ruled out the possibility he will run for his former seat. While speaking to a group of supporters in Sugar Land on July 7th, DeLay said that if he "is forced to be on the ballot, well, they (the Texas Democratic Party) may get exactly what they want."

-- Kate Deming

By washingtonpost.com Editors  |  August 3, 2006; 4:16 PM ET
Categories:  House  
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Comments

yeah, gayness tends to make governing difficult. You know, what with all the gayness and everything...

Tina, the things you say are stupid. Stop saying them.

Posted by: J | August 6, 2006 7:34 PM | Report abuse

I did not have to mention Condi because the news reports will be buzzing soon about the billboard promoting her in Texas. It is near McGregor, on Highway 4, the road toward Crawford. To see it, go to:
www.4condi.com

The group purchased the billboard with donations and it will stay there for 2 months. But I guess I was just so happy that I did not even think of mentioning it, that is of course until you reminded me that I forgot to write about Condi for president.

Now on the matter of Torricelli, it was the political machine of the Democrats in power to booted Torricelli off the ballot rather than risk losing it. The Dems can YAP about the law is different, but that did not stop the newspapers from reporting how disgusted the voters were in New Jersey. And interesting too that the Governor was investigated for corruption and many people connected to him were found guilty. LUCKY FOR HIM that he was also found to be gay so that he could slither away claiming he was unable to do his duty as the top state offical.

Posted by: Tina | August 4, 2006 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Peter: Delay is the poster child for corruption. Having him on the ballot helps Dems elsewhere in the country and that's why the GOP pressured him to try to stay off the ballot. You've heard his speeches; he certainly didn't do it voluntarily. He's a corrupt old bulldog, smug in his self-righteousness and completely devoid of any realization of his towering hypocrisy.

Even if he wins in TX the GOP is more likely to lose elsewhere because he's still on the ballot. The finer points of why he's still on the ballot are going to be lost on voters elsewhere in the country.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | August 4, 2006 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Interesting thought about the special election... That idea had never occurred to me, but I wouldn't put it past Delay at all. I completely agree that he's going to campaign and campaign hard.

This ruling is a challenge for Democrats as much as it is a boon. If the corruption issue is going to sell, it had better sell in Delay's district. If Delay wins, that pulls the rug out from much of the case for Democrats nationwide. So yes, they caught a break - but now they have to win.

I don't see a write-in campaign working. If they don't have every Delay backer behind it, all it will do is split the Republican vote and give Lampson the election.

Posted by: peter | August 4, 2006 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Even worse than I thought... leiberman hiring thugs from out of town to shove around Lamont supporters--even an 82-year old guy.

Hey Chris, how about a story on that? It's really classy.

http://www.mydd.com/story/2006/8/3/205416/1615

Posted by: Drindl | August 4, 2006 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Did you see this? It looks like Leiberman is bringing in lobbyists from DC-- from a pharma company--to campaign for him. So much for 'populism'...

http://mydd.com/story/2006/8/4/11191/05211

Sliiimy...

Posted by: Drindl | August 4, 2006 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Colin... read the odious krauthammer in today's wapo... condi is being set up. The neocons want her to look like she failed in lebanon... the truth is, she's doing exactly what they want by letting the conflict rage on..because they orchestrated it and duped olmert into going along, as a proxy against iran. But it makes condi look like a ineffectual failure in the eys of the world.. and it's going make things much worse in the Middle East by turning the 'moderate' Arab sunni client states like Jordan against us --and Israel.

Posted by: Drindl | August 4, 2006 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I second Drindl's praise for Tina. Although Tina's post didn't really make sense, since the difference between NJ and Texas is quite simply the fact that they each have different election laws, she really didn't mention Condi. I wonder if that's because Iraq is apparently careening towards civil war or b/c she's proven completely inept at addressing the current crisis between Israel and Lebanon....maybe a little of A and a little of B? Hard to say, with that sterling Condi resume. :)

Posted by: Colin | August 4, 2006 10:56 AM | Report abuse

A 15 seat change in the House and Mr. Delay has to face an Ethics Committee controlled by the Democrats.

If he campaigns and wins, the Democrats actually may get exactly what they want.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | August 4, 2006 10:53 AM | Report abuse

"As usual, when Democrats can't win at the ballot box, they run to the courthouse,..." (Texas Republican Party Chairwoman Tina Benkiser) [Fort Bend Now, 06/08/06]

"The Democrats have resorted to their usual method of turning to the courthouse if they can't win at the ballot box," (Gretchen Essell, communications director, Texas Republican Party) [AP News 06/08/06]

Do these people ever have an original thought?

Give some credit to the Democrats, they seemed to have learned from the 2000 election

Posted by: Nor'Easter | August 4, 2006 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Slightly off-topic, but I see the beleauguered [and totally slimy] Conrad Burns of Montana has brilliantly decided to shore up his rocky campaign by --attacking firefighters! He viciously verbally assaulted a crew returning from fighting a big blaze, humiliating them in front of other people there.

I think the repubs are going insane. Showing their true natures, their contempt for ordinary americans.

Posted by: Drindl | August 4, 2006 10:34 AM | Report abuse

"While speaking to a group of supporters in Sugar Land on July 7th, DeLay said that if he "is forced to be on the ballot, well, they (the Texas Democratic Party) may get exactly what they want."

Those darn Texas Democrats, who are so powerful in the state that they can make Tom DeLay run for reelection, gather campaign funds, and also make Republican primary voters vote for him. DeLay absolutely had no choice about any of that.

Posted by: JoeyJoeJoe | August 4, 2006 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Hey Tina-- you'd posted without mentioning Condi! Good for you! Maybe you figured out that she's a total failure and dead meat now...

I see you love that rabid republican shill, candy crowley on CNN, you know that 'liberal media'...

Posted by: Drindl | August 4, 2006 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Democrats in control of the levers of justice? You're kidding, right? The Fifth Circuit is perhaps the most conservative federal appeals court in the US. Judge Clement, who was on the panel, was mentioned as a possible Bush nominee to succeed O'Connor. There is no question of any bias in the disposition of this case.

Posted by: Zathras | August 4, 2006 7:26 AM | Report abuse

Lampson got polling he's sharing? Kinda leaves a big hole in this story. Guess I'll check the TX papers...

Posted by: SSquirrel | August 3, 2006 10:34 PM | Report abuse

I think it's the republicans in this case being hypocritical saying the dems are trying to stop "the people" from having a choice. They had their choice in the primary, and they picked Tom. So now they get to dance with the one they picked. . .

Posted by: Fredrick | August 3, 2006 9:49 PM | Report abuse

The Delay situation now and the Torricelli situation a few years back differ because of the individual state laws involved. Democrats aren't trying to keep Delay on the ballot because of some high principle, and they've never claimed it to be so. They're trying to keep him on the ballot because Texas law on the subject is fairly strict, and it helps them.

Posted by: Staley | August 3, 2006 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Time for a visit to the Land of Democrats:
a few years ago, Torricelli of New Jersey was investigated and held under fire for corruption while in the Senate. Yet, the Democrats were able to shove him off the ballot, (he had already won the primary too), so it seems as long as the Democrats keep getting by with being able to do this, they seem like hypocrites with all the fuss to keep DeLay on the ballot.

Candy Crowley of CNN stated that the Texas Republican party can put together a write-in campaign. That is legal, as much as the Democrats think they have control of the levers of justice. No way to stop voters from writing in the name of a Republican leader. Candy did say the campaign would be a huge undertaking, but it would rip the hypocritical rug right out from under the concrete feet of the Democrats.

DeLay resigned. The only way the Democrats can win is by dragging his body back to Texas to pick at his body parts and let him bleed to death on election night. But if the GOP of Texas is able to rally behind someone, there is hope the seat will remain in GOP hands, free and clear.

Posted by: Tina | August 3, 2006 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Time for a visit to the Land of Democrats:
a few years ago, Torricelli of New Jersey was investigated and held under fire for corruption while in the Senate. Yet, the Democrats were able to shove him off the ballot, (he had already won the primary too), so it seems as long as the Democrats keep getting by with being able to do this, they seem like hypocrites with all the fuss to keep DeLay on the ballot.

Candy Crowley of CNN stated that the Texas Republican party can put together a write-in campaign. That is legal, as much as the Democrats think they have control of the levers of justice. No way to stop voters from writing in the name of a Republican leader. Candy did say the campaign would be a huge undertaking, but it would rip the hypocritical rug right out from under the concrete feet of the Democrats.

DeLay resigned. The only way the Democrats can win is by dragging his body back to Texas to pick at his body parts and let him bleed to death on election night. But if the GOP of Texas is able to rally behind someone, there is hope the seat will remain in GOP hands, free and clear.

Posted by: Tina | August 3, 2006 7:54 PM | Report abuse

This is Tom Delay we're talking about, he'll stop at nothing to make sure this seat stays red. Prediction: Delay will run and run hard, Delay will win, and Delay will resign setting up a special election where a Republican candidate can get on the ballot.

Disclaimer: I am not saying I am a proponent of this, just saying that I think it's the smartest thing the Republicans can do to keep this seat. And when it comes to elections the Republicans have been pretty smart.

Posted by: Dat Playa | August 3, 2006 6:30 PM | Report abuse

In answer to Mark -- Yep, sure does, but what's new? They love this Bubba -- corruption? Huh? doesn't everyone do it? Wouldn't be enough to keep this candidate out of office.

Posted by: say it ain't so | August 3, 2006 6:25 PM | Report abuse

DeLay can say he is campaigning out of necessity because of Democrats "trying to get at the courthouse what they can't get at the ballot box". That the Democratic candidate doesn't deserve to represent the district.

Check back with me the second week in November.

Posted by: Sam | August 3, 2006 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Let's say DeLay decides to mount a vigorous campaign, as one poster above theorizes. Doesn't that just make him -- not to mention the entire Texas GOP party leadership -- a 24-karat liar for claiming that he'd moved to Virginia "indefinitely" & was ineligible to run?

Posted by: mark | August 3, 2006 5:53 PM | Report abuse

But it could backfire big time if the DeLay mounts a vigorous campaign and his constituents sense an opportunity to embarrass the Democrats... I'm a Democrat but I am betting that is a good possibility.

Posted by: sayitain'tso | August 3, 2006 5:26 PM | Report abuse

"Moved to Virginia" is rather dubious, given that his wife reportedly still lives in Sugar Land.

Posted by: Keith | August 3, 2006 5:11 PM | Report abuse

It seems for now that Democrats will have the last laugh in the Tom DeLay saga.

Posted by: Ohio guy | August 3, 2006 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Somebody needs to tell Tom that it's gonna be tough to run for congress from the Big House (and I ain't talking about the one on Pennsylvania Ave)

Posted by: Andy R | August 3, 2006 4:52 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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