fading into the archives of the internet.
DeLay also got alot of flak recently for agreeing that people are unemployed because they want to be.
Since I see people occasionally finding this little corner of the internet on google searches, a quick post.
I just read the Tom DeLay replacement opinon by the 5th Circuit panel. This was a pretty big judicial smackdown.
The panel affirmed on both the constitutional question AND the "alternative state law ground". Moreover, the review was de novo, meaning that the court didn't have to defer to the trial judge's opinion. There was a low standard of review, and they still decided on two different grounds that DeLay would have to be on the ballot.
The smackdown is so clear that it is likely to be the end of the judicial road. The Texas GOP will still file some papers (that's the second half of the post title but you'd already figured that out), but I doubt they'll be effective. The best chance for the GOP would be to focus on standing -- in fact, given the "alternative state law ground", standing is probably the only possible issue to appeal to the Supreme Court -- but the opinion goes to great lengths to establish standing on multiple grounds. An en banc hearing is possible, but seems awfully unlikely, given the unanimity of this opinion.
I'd say that it's now 99% likely that Tom DeLay will be on the ballot in November, unless he withdraws and leaves Nick Lampson without a Republican opponent. But that seems unlikely.
* People of my age will recognize this as lyric from the worst song played as the last slow dance at high school dances.
The temporary order which prohibited the Texas GOP from going forward with their DeLay replacement plans has been lifted. There's supposed to be a trial on Monday in front of federal judge Sam Sparks.
I'd be very surprised if Democrats win. DeLay might've been circumventing the spirit of the law, but he certainly appears to be within the letter of the law. Combine that with the fact that courts historically tend to rule in favor of electoral choice, and I'd expect a GOP win. Also, the expedited process would tend to favor the GOP.
Here's the Chron's Clay Robison:
Former congressman Steve Stockman, however, failed to qualify as an independent candidate for the 22nd Congressional District seat vacated by former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay of Sugar Land.The Legend of Steve Stockman continues to grow.
Stockman turned in about 600 signatures, but fewer than the 500 he needed were ruled valid, Williams' spokesman, Scott Haywood said.
Mr. Lampson said Mr. DeLay's ethical miscues are well-known to voters in the district, which includes portions of Harris, Brazos, Galveston and Fort Bend counties.It's probably possible to make this part of a compelling narrative*, but may be tricky to pull off.
"I don't have to go out and remind them," he said. "It's ingrained in a lot of these people in this district, and it will resonate."
At the same time, Lampson campaign manager Mike Malaise said, don't be surprised if the campaign runs TV ads this fall featuring Mr. DeLay.
I'll be blogging again sometime this weekend. There's been lots of interesting things going on in the race to replace Tom DeLay.
The best coverage of the CD22 race is definitely over at
Safety for Dummies the Texas Safety Forum.
The May issue of Texas Monthly features a Tom DeLay cover story by Paul Burka.
I haven't read it yet. I'm extremely busy between a number of different things, so you may or may not get my thoughts on the piece. I barely have time to eat and sleep.
Greg in TX22 reports that someone is doing an autodialer poll in the district with these questions:
1. Do you favor a special election to fill Tom DeLay's remaining term?HIs wife is uncertain who is doing the poll, but thinks it was a Republican party poll.
2. How likely would you be to vote in a special election?
3. Which political party do you identify with?
4. Which race are you?
Not too surprisingly, Governor Perry decided that he won't call a special election before the regular November election once DeLay resigns. That means that the November ballot in CD22 will feature two elections: the special election and the regular election.
Here's an interesting scenario: assuming the Republican nominee wins the November election, but the special election goes into a runoff. Will the state have to spend a few million holding a special election runoff even though only it would only be weeks or days left in the unexpired term. Even if the state doesn't have to hold a special runoff**, mightn't it be a good idea to hold a special election? Whoever wins the special election will be ahead in seniority of the entire 2006 freshman class. That extra seniority could easily be worth a few million to Texas and CD22 over a congressional tenure.
**My guess is that the state is required to hold a runoff for the special election, even if it means rushing the runoff. However, it's not important enough for me to spend time researching the law.
The loudest sound in Washington this week was the huge sigh from [GOP] officials relieved that their chances of holding Tom DeLay's [seat] have improved from, at best, 50-50 to more like 90-10.Four days ago on Tuesday, I wrote:
But right now I'd say the odds of the GOP holding the seat at about 10:1. In other words, there's a 9% chance that Lampson holds this seat next January.I'll forgive Cook for rounding up.
The word I'm hearing is that it's likely that party leaders will try to nominate a candidate before a special election is held.
Chris Elam provides some thoughts (I'll excerpt here, but go read the posts):
In CD 22, there are exactly 100 precincts including a couple that are there just for administrative reasons but contain no voters.I can answer one question. Only precinct chairs within CD22 will get to vote on who represents them on the 4 person committee ("one precinct chair from each county that is only partly situated in the district, elected by and from among the precinct chairs of the precincts in that part of the county.")
Of those 100 precincts, 60 currently have a GOP precinct chair, two will have a GOP precinct chair after next week's runoff, and 38 precincts do not have a precinct chair.
Somebody who is interested in knowing how these precinct chairs are leaning, might be inclined to do an informal survey. Or, calling Eric Thode and having a meeting to discuss them all individually so they can have an informed start to their targeting and courtship. Or, more than likely, poring through the voter rolls in the precincts without chairmen, looking for GOP voters with publicly listed telephone numbers to call up and beg them into being appointed and serving... and then taking them to dinner.
Do only the precinct chairs in CD 22 get to vote, or will precinct chairs in other CD's get a voice?
Do the candidates get to come in and speak durng the meeting?
Are the precinct chairs who want to be selected, required to declare and sign their allegiance to one candidate in blood?
Are the meetings going to be formed in the fashion of a debate on the merits of the Congressional candidates, or the merits of the precinct chairs who will be part of the four-member board?
And most importantly...
Will the meetings be open to the general public, or just to Republican primary voters, or will they be completely closed to observers and REALLY emit the stench of back-room dealing? You'd think that they'd have to rent the FBISD football stadium in order to deal with the crowd if these meetings are going to be open to the public.
If a vacancy exists in the office of precinct chair on a senatorial district executive committee immediately before the date for conducting the regular drawing for a place on the general primary ballot, the appropriate precinct chairs shall convene on that date at the hour and place specified by the county chair to elect that officer. (emphasis mine)I haven't checked the statute history, but it appears that this is just sloppy drafting. It appears that the statute drafters intended this subsection to apply, however, they accidentally left in "senatorial," and thus it literally does not apply in this case.
I'm going to reproduce -- with some editing -- my comment on GreginTX22's site:
First, let me note that I don't really have a dog on this fight. I can see the arguments for having a special election -- particularly the importance of having voters decide -- rather than having the party nominate a candidate.
As I've suggested on my blog, a special election is more likely to be won by Lampson. Although I saw that Lampson says he may not run in a special, I think he would be quite foolish to do so. Generally, Lampson has a much better chance of winning the special than the general, because low turnout elections such as special elections are significantly less predictable. Plus, if Lampson wins the special, then he increases his chances of winning the general. Though there are some reasons why he might not want to run in the special, I think those are outweighed by reasons to run in the special.
Also, a special election *appears* to be more likely won by a Harris County resident. I think that it makes sense that Fort Bend wants to keep a hometown Congressman rather than have another Congressman from Harris (note: I was born and live in Harris County).
There's also the idea that the party wants to be able to pick its own nominee. In a special, the party is not picking its own nominee. Both Republican, Democrats and independent voters from an entire district are deciding the de facto nominee. In fact, there is no Republican nominee in a special. Because of this, it means that a candidate with a large, solid base could be the de facto Republican nominee, despite the fact that most Republicans wouldn't vote for that person (eg, in a Lampson v. 7 Republicans special election, one Republican could be in a runoff with Lampson by winning only 20% of the vote.)
Further -- and I'm not saying that this is true**, but that it's valid for them to believe so -- I think folks in the party believe that they can do the best job of picking a solid Republican who has no chance of being beaten by Nick Lampson in November.
So, I think there are some arguments on the other side that aren't merely selfish back-room motives.
This intra-Republican struggle on whether to nominate before a special could get interesting.
Outgoing Fort Bend County GOP Chair Eric Thode (he's done May 1st, if I recall correctly) is
arguing that the Republican party should decide who to nominate, and not worry about the special election.
The most important part of this process is the WITHDRAWAL from the November ballot. As a Party, each of the Executive Committees in each of the four counties (Fort Bend, Harris, Brazoria and Galveston) in Congressional District 22 will choose a single Precinct Chair to represent them at a 4-person selection committee meeting. These 4 people will choose the individual to appear on the November ballot. Needless to say, many people will pursue this appointment and this individual will carry the Republican flag to victory against Nick Lampson in November.I recommend that you go read Thode's whole email (and comment) over at Texas Safety Forum. Remember, if you're curious as to how the Republican Party will pick DeLay's replacement, I covered that here. Barg: I was the first to get the law right on this one, while local and national media were getting the law wrong.
We must not allow ourselves to get sidetracked by a Special Election that will slow our November candidate down unnecessarily. Every Republican should push the appointment along quickly and not wait for a Special Election, which is NOT the way we should choose the Republican nominee for November.
"The special election should be held first and Republican leaders should then select a nominee for the November election informed by the results of the special election. The selection process should be open, transparent and democratic. We need to avoid any appearance of selection by backroom bargain."
Scenario A: Party nominates November replacement before special election. Only the replacement runs in the special election, since there is no point for anyone else to run.
Scenario B: Party nominates November replacement before special election, but other Republicans decide to run in the special anyway (out of spite OR because the filing deadline for the special has passed.)
Scenario C: Party waits to see results of the special before nominating a replacement. A Republican beats Lampson in the special election runoff. The party nominates someone else, because they don't like the victorious "special" Republican.
Scenario D: Party waits to see results of the special before nominating a replacement. A Republican loses to Lampson in the special election runoff (possible, because Lampson has a better chance in a runoff). The party nominates someone else, because they don't like that Republican lost.
Scenario E: Party waits to see results of the special before nominating a replacement. A Republican loses to Lampson in the special election runoff (possible, because Lampson has a better chance in a runoff). The party nominates the same person.
Scenario F: Party waits to see results of the special before nominating a replacement. A Republican beats Lampson in the special election runoff. The party nominates the same person.
Scenario G: Party waits to see results of the special before nominating a replacement. A Republican beats Lampson in the special election runoff. The party nominates someone else.
Scenario H: Party nominates replacement after filing deadline for the special but before the special. Then, we could end up with someone who faces Lampson in a special runoff, but has no incentive to campaign, since they won't be on the November ballot.
1. Geography will be very important here. Fort Bend would definitely like to keep a hometown Congressman. However, there are just as many CD22 voters in Harris County as their are in Fort Bend.
2. The Congressman is very likely to be from Fort Bend or Harris, and much less likely to be from Brazoria or Galveston.
3. The committee will be equally represented by each county: one person each.
4. Therefore, Brazoria and Galveston will have disproportionate power (relative to their percentages of the district) in determining who the next Congressman is and where he/she comes from.
If there is any ambiguity over whether the GOP can replace DeLay on the ballot in November, won't the state legislature simply rewrite/clarify the election code in the upcoming special session in a few weeks?
It's pretty likely that this will be litigated, and equally likely that the GOP will be allowed to replace DeLay on the ballot. So perhaps the legislature will attempt to change the code.
FortBendNow reports that Janek says he isn't running.
If the race is three Fort Bend County residents Campbell, Wallace, and Howard, then you have to think that someone from Harris County would think about running.
According to Elam, Sugar Land state Rep. Charlie Howard is running.
Howard plays well with the grassroots (an activist friend of mine once said to me a few years back, "if the whole Texas House was as good as Charlie Howard...") and has some money in his campaign account.
In other words, I think Howard will be a serious candidate who has a good chance, depending on who else enters.