January 12, 2006

NYTimes on DeLay v. Lampson


Representative Tom DeLay is in the toughest re-election campaign of his 11-term House career, a battle that might be decided not only by his legal problems, but also by the Congressional redistricting plan he spearheaded in 2003.

The redistricting led to the loss of six Democratic seats in Texas in 2004, but it also shifted thousands of Democratic voters to strong Republican districts. Among those, Mr. DeLay's 22nd District added several Democratic-leaning parts of Galveston County; several political analysts estimate they may have raised the district's Democratic vote around 5 percent.


"I think there is a 50-50 chance DeLay won't even be in the race in November," said Calvin C. Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

If he does stay in the race - and Mr. DeLay insists he will - he has the demographics of the 22nd District to bolster him.

"Despite everything, it's extremely difficult to dislodge Tom DeLay in a district with such a strong Republican base and a strong, straight-ticket Republican voting trend," said Ted Delisi, a Republican strategist in Austin.
As DavidNYC at Swing State Project noted, I already pointed out that Texas district 22 only got about 2-3% less Republican.

It's a pretty uphill district for a Democrat. As I see it, Democrats have two main hopes: 1) DeLay loses in court, or 2) DeLay is still in legal jeopardy (under indictment in Austin or by new indictment in DOJ).

Barring either of those, it's going to be a very difficult race for Lampson. DeLay is fully engaged in the campaign, he'll raise plenty of money, and he has the powers of incumbency.

Also, I think Cal Jillson is wrong. If DeLay were to drop out, he would have dropped out already.

It's worth pointing out: Lampson lost two years ago in a LESS Republican district as the incumbent, gaining only 43% to now-Congressman Ted Poe's 55%. Further, that district contained Jefferson County, which Lampson had represented for years as Congressman and county tax assessor.

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