Lampson Says No to Special Election in Latest Texas 22
By Matthew Spieler Fri Sep 1, 3:26 PM ET
Democratic former Rep. Nick Lampson has decided not to
compete in a belatedly scheduled Nov. 7 special
election for the seat in Texas 22nd Congressional
District, which was vacated in June by former House
Majority Leader Tom DeLay choosing instead to focus
on his strong bid to take over this Republican seat in
the general election to be held the same day.
Lampson appears to have gained an edge in the race for
a full term in the 110th Congress because of a huge
Republican snafu that left them with a blank ballot
line in the general election.
And his decision to forgo the simultaneous contest for
the final weeks of DeLays unexpired term in the
current 109th Congress underscores the contention that
he and other Democrats have made: that the short-term
contest is a ploy by the state GOP to gain visibility
for their candidate in the general election, Houston
City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, who has been
forced by the ballot foul-up to run as a write-in
Lampson and his allies point out that the special
election was announced just this past Tuesday by
Republican Gov. Rick Perry, and note that he had said
as early as April when DeLay, plagued by ethics
controversies, announced he would resign from Congress
that he would not schedule a special election in
Texas 22. DeLay officially quit his seat June 9, so it
was vacant for nearly three months before the special
election was slated for Nov. 7.
Lampson accused the Republicans of unnecessarily
complicating an already unusual election, telling The
Galveston County Daily News, If the governor and Tom
DeLay had truly been concerned about the interest of
Southeast Texans, we would have had this special
election back in May, adding that he did not want to
put voters through that extra confusion.
Perrys announcement came 27 days after a federal
appeals court upheld a July 6 ruling by a federal
district judge that the state Republican Party could
not remove DeLays name from the general election
ballot and replace him with another candidate.
DeLay changed his residency to the state of Virginia
after his resignation in a bid to have himself
declared ineligible to run in Texas 22, as the
Constitution requires members of Congress to live in
the states they represent. But the courts agreed with
Democratic plaintiffs that the Republicans could not
prove conclusively that he would not be a Texas
resident on Nov. 7 and thus could not be deemed
Though DeLay subsequently did pull his name off the
ballot, the ruling precluded the Republicans from
replacing him and forced them to go the rarely
successful write-in route. But Republicans hope that
the special election, which will place Sekula-Gibbs
name on the Nov. 7 ballot, will prompt the districts
strongly Republican-leaning electorate to consider
taking the extra step required to write in her name
for the general election.
But Democrats have ridiculed the special election as a
cheap political trick, accusing Perry of waiting
until the Republican ballot scam failed to call a
special election to give the voters of District 22 a
voice in Congress.
Although Lampson is effectively ceding the final weeks
of DeLays unexpired term to Sekula-Gibbs, it will not
be clear until later on Friday whether she will have a
free ride in the special election. Candidates must
meet a deadline of 5 p.m. local time (6 p.m. Eastern)
to file for that contest.
A candidate in the special election who garners a
majority of votes would be declared the winner and
would retain the seat through the remainder of the
109th Congress. If the top finisher only receives a
plurality, however, the top two vote-getters
regardless of party would proceed to a December
An outright victory Nov. 7 would allow the new member
to participate in a post-election lame duck session
that appears a virtual certainty, as Congress is
expected to have unfinished business when it adjourns
in late September or early October so incumbents can
return home to campaign.
Still, Lampson indicated that his campaigns resources
were more wisely focused on the general election, as
opposed to a race that will elect a member to a tenure
of less than two months.
CQ currently rates the 22nd District general election
as Leans Democratic because of the extreme difficulty
in staging a successful write-in campaign. Please
visit CQPolitics.coms Election Forecaster for ratings
on all races.