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Tom DeLay a Boon to Both Democrats and GOP

Seeking to capitalize financially on the increased national visibility of former House majority leader Tom DeLay, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is joining forces with DeLay's likely Democratic opponent in Texas's 22nd District to raise money from national donors.

Former congressman Nick Lampson and the DCCC will launch "Lampson Victory 2006" with an event tomorrow night at the Democratic National Committee that will feature House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.). To serve as a "chair" for the event, an individual must either donate or raise $25,000; a political action committee needs to contribute just $15,000 to qualify for "chair" status.

Lampson Victory 2006 is a joint fundraising committee, which allows the donations to be split between Lampson and the DCCC.  The two entities will also divvy up the costs of the committee's overhead.

After the D.C. event tomorrow, Lampson will tour the country (or at least the Democratic fundraising hot spots) to collect cash for the committee. Stops are scheduled in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City, San Francisco and Boston.

The formation of the committee comes as a new national poll shows that DeLay is slowly but surely becoming a recognizable name to American voters. Only 31 percent did not know his name or were unsure when asked in an NBC/Wall Street Journal survey conducted earlier this month.  Of those who recognized DeLay's name, 11 percent were "very" or somewhat" positive about him, 22 percent were "neutral" and 36 percent were "somewhat" or "very" negative.

In spite those numbers, DeLay remains a formidable fundraising force --  as evidenced by his third-quarter fundraising numbers. From July 1 to Sept. 30, DeLay raised $920,000, almost triple the $323,00 that Lampson collected. DeLay's haul brought his total fundraising for the first nine months of 2005 to $2.3 million. (DeLay raised $2.8 million for the entire 2004 cycle.) In fact, following DeLay's indictment by a Travis County grand jury on Sept. 28, he received a slew of donations from individuals and political action committees, most notably the Wal-mart Stores Inc. PAC, which gave DeLay $5,000 on Sept. 30.

Kevin Madden, a spokesman for DeLay, said the indictment by Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, which he referred to as a "manufactured political power move," had "emboldened Republican supporters to help Mr. DeLay and we expect that level of enthusiasm to continue."

During the third quarter, DeLay spent $482,000, a total that included $12,750 in refunds requested by contributors. Madden said that even the one refund paid back after DeLay's indictment was handed down on Sept. 28 had been requested prior to the indictment.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 17, 2005; 2:51 PM ET
Categories:  House  
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