June 08, 2006

DeLay Replacement Delay


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.

What's more, they have received a temporary restraining order to prevent any action being taken to fill the slot declared vacant yesterday until after a hearing on June 22.

The following is reported at, 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.

MORE AT Riehl World View, Burnt Orange Report, Eye on Williamson, Off The Kuff and Texas Rainmaker.

» Super Fun Power Hour links with: They Don't Have Tom DeLay to Kick Around Anymore
» Barking Moonbat Early Warning System links with: Democratic Party Games
» Stop The ACLU links with: Friday Free For All
» The COLOSSUS OF RHODEY links with: Those "consistent" Dems

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» Super Fun Power Hour links with: They Don't Have Tom DeLay to Kick Around Anymore, on June 13, 2006, 07:00 AM
Excerpt: A defiant Tom DeLay bid farewell to Congress yesterday, taking some shots at the Dems on his way out: The 11-term Republican from Texas, said it is customary for departing lawmakers to "reminisce about the 'good old days' of political harmony and a...

» Barking Moonbat Early Warning System links with: Democratic Party Games, on June 13, 2006, 07:01 AM

You gotta hand it to the Donks - they're consistent. Consistently stupid and crooked, that is. This latest ploy of theirs is just another way for them to grab a House seat with underhanded means. Typical bulls**t from the Party Of Idiots, W...

» Stop The ACLU links with: Friday Free For All, on June 13, 2006, 07:01 AM
Excerpt: This blanket of fire, covering hundreds of square miles, is the rarest phenomenon of them all. It was spotted in the US on the Washington-Idaho border around midday last Saturday. Happy Friday!!! I’ll be attending a going away party for a fr...

» The COLOSSUS OF RHODEY links with: Those "consistent" Dems, on June 13, 2006, 07:17 AM
Excerpt: Democrats, who recently filed suit to keep Tom DeLay's name on the Texas ballot for the upcoming congressional election, are now attempting to get their candidate off the ballot in Alabama? Why? Because he can't win: A teacher fired for...

Comments on DeLay Replacement Delay

Funny how the Dems got a compliant NJ Supreme Court to disregard the law when it worked in THEIR favor back in 2002 in the matter of Bob Torricelli. SCONJ ruled that what the law said didn't matter--only that the state had a "compelling interest" in guaranteeing "competitive elections" (meaning, of course, that a viable Dem must be in the race--third parties don't count).

I hope the TX courts will consider this precedent and remind the TX Dems that what goes around comes around.

|| Posted by Howard Hirsch, June 9, 2006 09:34 PM ||

Democrats playing funny games with ballots?

Well, no surprise there. After all, when they got away with replacing Toricelli in New Jersey, they probably think they can do it again...

But in Texas? Hmmmm... I doubt it.

|| Posted by Mike's America, June 12, 2006 12:26 AM ||

You have to remember, though, that Travis County (where the suit was filed) is also the home of rogue prosecutor Ronnie Earle -- and should best be viewed as teh Texas analog of Berkeley or San Francisco.

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, June 12, 2006 04:13 AM ||

Unfortunately, there is a technical point in all of this. Inhabitant and residency are not necesarily the same thing. I think that Tom Delay does still own property in Sugarland. That deed would a public record along with his Virginia driver license and Virginia taxes. There is no time duration requirement for residency based on information posted on the Secretary of State of Texas website. Delay would only have to be a inhabitant of the state of Texas on election day to make him eligible.

How do you declare an individual conclusively ineligible given he has ties to both states and did prior to 9 June as well as after? I think a Texas drivers license is only required after the first 30 days. Delay might not be able to vote, however,if Delay sets foot in Texas election day, GOP has a huge eligibilty issue to answer for. I personally am upset with not being able to select the GOP candidate in the primary.

|| Posted by Wordsmith, June 14, 2006 08:02 PM ||

I'll agree with you on your final point. Knowing what I know now, I would rather have seen Tom not seek reelection -- and I say that as one whose name appears on DeLay campaign material as one of those endorsing him for reelection.

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, June 14, 2006 08:11 PM ||

On the conspiracy theory side, perhaps Ronnie Earle has planned to draw pending court proceedings out to the November timeframe to get Tom Delay in Texas for the election timneframe.

|| Posted by Wordsmith, June 14, 2006 09:03 PM ||

The reality is tha tmere presence does not make one a resident or inhabitant of the state -- it requires an intent to establish one's domicile in the state

The example of Dick Cheney's residency status in 2000 might be instructive to you.

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, June 14, 2006 09:56 PM ||

I certainly agree with your point on presence does not make one a resident or inhabitant of the state, but it does not apply in this instance. Mr. Delay has maintained dual domiciles while serving in congress. He continues to have a home in both Virginia and Texas.

Registering to vote, while it is a privilege, is not hard to do. All that is required is a copy of a utility bill for proof of residency. Mr. Delay has had utility bills for both for some time.

Although Mr. Delay registered to vote in Virginia, he voted absentee for the Virginia primary ballot due to traveling. He voted in person for the Texas primary. (Is it even legal to vote in both states primaries?) When he was served with a subpoena to appear in court on the 22nd, he was in his house in Sugarland, TX. On paper, Tom Delay may be a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia, but his actions don't support his intent to stay away from Texas.

|| Posted by Wordsmith, June 27, 2006 05:40 AM ||

Actually, Wordsmith, registering to vote in a state is one of those things which the courts have held to definitively define one's place of residence. Witness the 2000 nomination of Dick Cheney for VP -- his registering to vote in Wyoming was held by a federal court to be evidence of his change of residence back to that state from Texas, where he had been registered since taking the reins at Halliburton.

As for the voting in primaries in different states, there is no bar to doing so, and it happens commonly. For example, I recall my parents voting in the primaries in two states when the Navy moved us from California to Maryland -- and then back to California six months later, where my parents voted in the presidential election in November. The question is where you are a resident at the time, and where you are registered to vote.

As for the subpoena service, that is hardly demonstrative of anything. After all, he is not forbiddent to enter the state of Texas, after his change of residency. He may visit Texas for any reason at any time -- he is not required to "stay away from Texas".

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, June 27, 2006 02:37 PM ||

You are correct that under the Texas Election Code (141.001), an elegible candidate must be :
1. A US citizen
2. At least 18 years old
3. Mentally competent
4. Not a felon
5. have resided continuously in the state for 12 months and in the territory from which the office is elected for six months IMMEDIATELY PRECEEDING the following date:
(A) for a candidate whose name is to appear on a general primary election ballot, the date of the regular filing deadline for a candidate's application for a place on the ballot;
(there are more selections that do not apply in this instance).
6. satisfy any other eligibility requirements
prescribed by law for the office
a statute outside this code supersedes Subsection (a{ABOVE}) to the extent of any conflict
Subsection (a) does not apply to an office for which the federal or state constitution or a statute outside this code prescribes exclusive eligibility requirements.

But that applies at time that the application was submitted to put him on the ballot. I am assuming that all the official records were changed after that timeframe for Mr. Delay as he had to personally sign to the validity of the information.

If you assume that all the eligibility requirements apply, the next milestone is in which location will Tom Delay be "inhabiting" on election day.

He has fulfilled his residency requirement for candidacy already. There does not appear to be any provision for moving out of state to be an issue at this late date until election day. Which leaves withdrawal...

We are in the process of debating a hole in the election code the size of Texas. This was identified back in April, yet nothing was done about this.

Unlike the judge, I'm wondering why Tom Delay abandoned District 22 in the middle of his term. He has not supplied his constituents with any reasoning. There is nothing democratic about this.

|| Posted by Wordsmith, June 27, 2006 05:24 PM ||

You will discover that there are many of us unhappy about this situation.

However, if the Dems wish to argue that DeLay cannot be ineligible until election day, they have to accept that there are a number of options available to Republicans under that scenario.

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, June 27, 2006 05:50 PM ||
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» Super Fun Power Hour links with: They Don't Have Tom DeLay to Kick Around Anymore
» Barking Moonbat Early Warning System links with: Democratic Party Games
» Stop The ACLU links with: Friday Free For All
» The COLOSSUS OF RHODEY links with: Those "consistent" Dems

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