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Saturday, March 4, 2006
DeLay’s Primary Challenge
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 6:42 pm

Via the AP: DeLay Faces a Rare Primary Challenge

Two of DeLay’s Republican opponents, Mike Fjetland and Pat Baig, are considered long shots. So DeLay has aimed most of his political vitriol at attorney Tom Campbell, who was general counsel for the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration under President George H.W. Bush and who has worked on the campaigns of several top Republicans.

Campbell has gone straight for DeLay’s ethics jugular. In one television ad, he contends DeLay was distracted by his legal troubles. In another, residents of DeLay’s district repeatedly describe Campbell using the word “integrity.”

“Mr. DeLay is unelectable and Republicans in our district have a choice. They can either elect a conservative that doesn’t carry the baggage Mr. DeLay carries or one that Nick Lampson has the ability to beat,” Campbell said. “It’s time for Mr. DeLay to come home.”

This is all quite fascinating, and we will know quite soon (this coming Tuesday: March 7th) how it will play out.

I cannot locate any polling number on the district, but did find this tidbit from a CQ Politics: TX 22: GOP Loyalty to DeLay Will Face Test on Tuesday

Even at the height of his political clout, DeLay did not always receive universal support in his primaries: Fjetland challenged him twice previously, taking 17 percent in 2000 and 20 percent in 2002.

At a minimum one would think a run-off quite likely.

And in their version of the story, ABC news makes the following incorrect observation:

There is a quirk in Texas election law: Registered Democrats can vote in Tuesday’s Republican primary for or against DeLay. But with turnout expected to be as low as 10 percent, the DeLay camp is not overly concerned about Democratic mischief.

One does not register one’s party affiliation in Texas, and the state has open primaries-nothing quirky about that. The only time that a Texas voter’s registration indicates party affiliation is after they vote in the primary. (Note this graphic of a Texas Voter Registration Certificate, and note the vertical line in roughly the middle of the picture where the poll worker stamps “Democratic” or “Republican” after one votes in the primary so that a vote cannot vote in both).

For the election geeks in the audience, here’ the Harris County sample ballots (GOP and Democratic), including the District 22 race with DeLay and friends.

Filed under: US Politics, 2006 Elections | |Send TrackBack


  1. Ooh, I feel like I had such a scoop here! (I am referring to Steven’s having sent me that image of a voter-reg card a while ago when I told him how fascinated I was by this after-you-vote stamp of party preference on a card.)

    With 10% turnout (!!) exepcted, it is hard for me to imagine DeLay has anything to worry about. It would seem if there was some sort of movement against him, a higher turnout would result.

    And Democrats certainly do not want to play mishief. They want to run against DeLay, not a replacement, in November!

    Comment by Matthew Shugart/Fruits & Votes — Sunday, March 5, 2006 @ 2:30 pm

  2. Seems like I saw an estimate of 14-15% (not that that is all that good, either).

    You are certainly correct about the Democrats.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Sunday, March 5, 2006 @ 2:46 pm

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