***WELCOME MICHELLE MALKIN READERS***
Less than 24 hours after Texas GOP Chair Tina Benkiser declared Congressman Tom DeLay to be ineligible to run for or serve as Congressman for Texas CD22, Texas Democrats have filed suit to prevent his being replaced on the ballot.
The following is reported at FortBendNow.com, a local online news source.
In a surprise twist to the Tom DeLay saga, the Texas Democratic Party filed suit Thursday in an attempt to keep the resigning Republican Congressman’s name on the November ballot.
The suit, filed in Travis County 126th District Court, seeks to undo an hours-old declaration by Republican Party Chair Tina Benkiser that DeLay is ineligible to run in the general election.
If DeLay doesn’t serve as the party’s candidate for Congressional District 22, then according to the Texas Election Code, no other candidate is allowed to replace him, the suit says.
Lawyers for Houston’s Riddle & Brazil law firm, which filed the action, obtained a temporary restraining order at about 5:10 p.m. from Judge Darlene Byrne. Sources familiar with the case said the order prevents Benkiser from calling a meeting of the so-called District Executive Committee or taking other measures to replace DeLay as the Republican Party nominee for CD-22.
That is not entirely correct. DeLay can be replaced if declared ineligible, but not if he withdraws. The Democrats are trying to muddy the water regarding which he has done in an attempt to keep DeLay on the ballot, effectively leaving Lampson without a challenger because Tom DeLay HAS established residency in Virginia.
At bare minimum, the goal is to prevent there from being a candidate actively raising campaign funds and campaigning against Lampson. After all, despite their rhetoric, the Democrats and their lawyers know that the Texas Election Code DOES allow for DeLay to be removed from the ballot.
The lawsuit says that DeLay’s attempt to be declared ineligible goes against state Election Code and the U.S. Constitution.
The election code says ineligibility can be declared if public records conclusively establish a candidate’s ineligibility, the lawsuit states. The Constitution says eligibility criteria for serving as a U.S. Rep. include being at least 25 years old, a U.S. citizen for at least seven years, and “an inhabitant ‘when elected’ of the state he or she will represent.
Thus, “nothing in the public record conclusively establishes that DeLay fails to satisfy any of these criteria,” the lawsuit says.
Well, except for Tom DeLay having gotten a Virginia driver's license and registering to vote in Virginia, both of which require establishing residence in that state.
And to my buddy Liberty, I will make the following vow -- in the event the Democrats DO succeed in preventing the voters of CD22 from having a Republican candidate, I will devote my efforts to see to it that your party's candidate becomes the first declared Libertarian to serve in Congress. I will never, ever, vote for Nick Lampson.
UPDATE: There is a great article in the San Antonio Express-News. It shows the Democrat plan for what it really is -- an attempt to deny the people of CD22 a choice.
The Democrats sued the GOP in state court in Austin, arguing that Republican officials can't replace the Sugar Land Republican because he technically is still in the race.
And if the courts agree that DeLay withdrew, party officials contend, state Republican officials couldn't select a replacement candidate to take on Democrat Nick Lampson in the fall.
“The election would continue on — they just wouldn't have a dog in the hunt,” said Boyd Richie, the state Democratic Party's interim chairman.
Unfortunately for the Democrats, DeLay is out of the race, having established residency in Virginia and been declared ineligible by the GOP, as dictated by the US Constitution and the Texas Election Code.
GOP officials have commented on the situation.
“The Democrats have resorted to their usual method of turning to the courthouse if they can't win at the ballot box,” said Gretchen Essell, communications director for the Republican Party of Texas. “We have followed the process that is delineated in the Texas Election Code. We are confident of the outcome.”
Jared Woodfill, Harris County Republican Party Chairman, called it a desperate move on Democrats' part and said he is confident the GOP will prevail.
“I'm surprised they did it this early. We figured it was coming,” he said, adding that the GOP's position is solid.
“Election law is very clear on this. He's clearly ineligible. It's a pretty open-and-shut case,” he said. “I know we're going to prevail. The law and facts are on our side.”
Noting that Democrats have lost every statewide office to Republicans and that the GOP holds a legislative majority, Woodfill said, “They're desperate. ..... Desperate people turn to desperate measures, and that's what they've done. They're not going to be successful, though.”
Gary Gillen, the new Republican Party chairman for Fort Bend County, described the efforts to obtain a restraining order as a “political play to keep voters from having the opportunity to elect their congressman. It's politics,” he said.
This is a desperate ploy on the part of the Democrats to win the only way they caqn -- by making sure that no other choice is permitted. I guess it they miss the day when Democrat nominees in most parts of Texas were relevant.