DeLay moves to remove name as candidate from Texas ballot
WASHINGTON – Former Majority Leader Tom DeLay said Tuesday he is taking the necessary steps to remove his name from the November ballot, giving his party a chance to field a write-in candidate in hopes of holding the House seat.Buffeted by scandal, DeLay said his June 9 resignation from Congress was “irrevocable” and maintained that he’s no longer a Texan.”As a Virginia resident, I will take the actions necessary to remove my name from the Texas ballot. To do anything else would be hypocrisy,” DeLay said in a statement.DeLay was forced to act after Republicans lost several court fights to remove his name from the ballot in the Houston-area district and replace him with a GOP-chosen nominee. Republicans ended their legal battles Monday when Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia refused to hear their case, letting the appeals court decision stand.DeLay criticized the courts’ decisions as he encouraged the Republican Party to “take any and all actions necessary to give Texas voters an up-or-down choice this fall between two major party candidates.”Tina J. Benkiser, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, said, “Republicans are working together with grassroots leadership in the district to get behind and vigorously support one candidate, whether he or she is on the ballot or not.”DeLay said the courts’ decisions in the Texas case conflicted with legal rulings in 2002 when Democrats were allowed to replace New Jersey Sen. Robert Torricelli with former Sen. Frank Lautenberg on the November ballot weeks before the election. Torricelli abandoned the race amid ethics allegations.”Voters should be concerned,” DeLay said.David Wallace, mayor of DeLay’s home town of Sugar Land, is the expected pick for the Republicans’ write-in campaign. He has name recognition and money-raising ability – more than $157,000 cash on hand as of June 30 – that party officials need to take on former Rep. Nick Lampson, the Democratic nominee.Lampson had amassed more than $2 million in his campaign treasury as of June 30 in preparation for a race against DeLay.While DeLay said he was giving voters a choice between major party candidates, Lampson’s campaign said DeLay “cut and run” – again.”He knows Nick Lampson is a strong candidate whose mainstream Texas values make him hard to beat in November,” said Lampson campaign manager Mike Malaise. “Nick will continue running his positive, issue-based campaign and we hope the multiple write-in candidates who enter this race will do the same and reject DeLay’s brand of dirty politics.”A write-in must declare candidacy and pay a fee or submit required signatures by Aug. 29.DeLay faces money laundering charges in Texas alleging he helped route illegal corporate cash to legislative campaigns in 2002. DeLay also has close ties to Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist at the center of a congressional corruption investigation. Two former DeLay aides who later worked with Abramoff have pleaded guilty in the investigation.DeLay has denied any wrongdoing in both investigations but the indictment forced him to step down from his job as majority leader and Republicans urged him to abandon his efforts to reclaim the job.Four men have been elected to Congress as write-in candidates. In 1954, Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina won the state’s Democratic nomination using fliers showing voters how and where to write his name.More recently, in May, Charlie Wilson, an Ohio legislator, won the Democratic primary nomination for the House through a write-in campaign heavily financed by his party.
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