June 27, 2006

The DeLay Question

Yesterday’s proceedings in the court of Judge Sam Slade raise some interesting questions in the ongoing saga of the CD22 race. There are also some intriguing possibilities.

First, there is the question of DeLay’s residence.

DeLay testified in federal court that he has registered to vote in Virginia and that he cast a ballot in that state's recent primary. He said he has a Virginia driver's license, has state tax withheld in Virginia and lives in a condominium in Alexandria, Va.

DeLay acknowledged that he spent the weekend at his home in Sugar Land, near Houston, but testified that his wife is devoted to helping abused and neglected children and that she is continuing that work in the Houston area.

By any legitimate standard, it is clear that DeLay has made himself a resident of the state of Texas. He lives there, votes there, pays taxes there, and has declared his official residence to be there on several official documents, including a driver’s license. He has now stated that he is a resident of Virginia under oath in a court of law. That should establish his ineligibility to the satisfaction of the court.

However, there is this statement from the judge yesterday.

A federal judge hearing a ballot dispute Monday involving former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay said he thinks that DeLay withdrew from the November election, indicating potential trouble for Republicans who want to name a replacement candidate. "He is not going to participate in the election and he withdrew," said U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks, who did not issue an official ruling after a daylong trial regarding DeLay's status as the GOP nominee for the 22nd Congressional District.

If this is a withdrawal, then theoretically there can be no replacement candidate on the ballot. But left unanswered is the possibility that DeLay has withdrawn AND rendered himself ineligible. If that is the case, what provision of state law applies?

The second issue is what happens if this ruling goes against the GOP. I see three possibilities. The first, of course, would be that Tom DeLay could reestablish residency between now and Election Day, reentering the race as a candidate. This would be one logical outcome of the Democrat argument that DeLay cannot be determined to be ineligible before Election Day.
But the other option is more interesting, and contained in one of the GOP arguments in court yesterday.

Attorneys for the Republican Party of Texas say GOP voters would be hurt if his name appears on the ballot because DeLay wouldn't be the guy filling the seat if he won. A special election would have to be called if that scenario played out.

In such a scenario, the GOP would urge voters to select DeLay, with a view towards defeating Lampson and creating the need for a special election to fill the seat. But would enough voters be willing to go along with such a plan?

The third, and least likely, option would be to throw GOP support to Libertarian candidate Bob Smither, with the goal of making him the first Libertarian Congressman – and of making him the first Libertarian ex-Congressman after the 2008 election.

And we won't even get into the implications of the upcoming Supreme Court decision (most likely to be handed down on Thursday morning) regarding the challenge to the off-year redistricting plan here in Texas.

As you can see, this means that even after the Harris County precinct chairs from CD22 meet on Thursday, there is still a lot of interesting stuff that could happen.

|| Greg, 03:08 PM || Permalink || Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

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Comments on The DeLay Question

You're giving me a headache!

|| Posted by boyo, June 27, 2006 03:59 PM ||

All part of the service, my friend!

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, June 27, 2006 04:09 PM ||

I feel I've been had. Mr. Delay is not helping his cause in any way. In attempting to find his reaction to the court ruling, the Houston Chronicle went to Tom Delay for comment.

Where did they find him? Not in Virginia, but in his house in Sugarland, TX.

What was his comment? "I don't do this (interviews). Not at my house," he said, closing the door. "Goodbye."

It's no wonder people are confused.

Meanwhile, I sit at my house in District 22 with no congressional representation. This feels alot like I've moved to the District of Columbia, but without congressional oversight...

|| Posted by wordsmith, July 7, 2006 05:50 AM ||
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