The big loser in all of this is Nick Lampson. He's a pretty solid underdog to any credible Republican candidate.
Lampson lost 43%-56% in 2004 to Ted Poe in a slightly more Republican district. That was a district that included his long-time home of Beaumont. Lampson had to move into his aunt's house to live in this district, and despite the fact that he's been campaigning for the last year, his ties to the district are not nearly as strong as they were
This is a solidly Republican district. Peg it conservatively at 60% [it's actually more like 62-63% GOP], and you're behind by 20% already if you're Lampson.
On the plus side for Lampson...he will have money. He's already got a couple million in the bank. But raising money won't be a problem for any Republican. The national spotlight will be on this district, and dollars accompany the spotlight. A Cheney or Bush fundraiser would be expected.
2006 is a more favorable year for Democrats, you might say. This might be true, but it won't matter in this district. Plus it's still too early to say whether 2006 will be a good climate for Dems. Remember prognostications that 2004 and 2002 would be good for Democrats. In 2002, it was Enron, corporate scandals, economy. In 04, it was the war and economy.
Lampson has had more time to put together a grassroots organization, and the Republican nominee may only have a short period of time to campaign. 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. Most of that 9% hinges on Republicans nominating a flawed candidate for the November ballot.