Strange Race Down in Texas…

Texas is really shaping up to be one of the states to watch this year for third party and independent politics.

The state features Michael Badnarik running for Congress in CD-10 and not one, but two extremely credible independents running for governor.

Now you can add Tom DeLay’s district to that list of interesting races.

DeLay will almost certainly be re-elected and he faces no serious GOP primary opposition, but he will still have to get through a couple of former Congressmen and some bad blood that goes all the way back to 1994.

In 1994, conservative Republican Steve Stockman defeated 21-term Congressman Jack Brooks. Part of that year’s “Republican Revolution” engineered by Newt Gingrich. Stockman was controversial and after only a single term in office he was defeated by Democrat Nick Lampson. Lampson went on to serve 4 terms in the House until redistricting lead to his defeat in 2004.

Skip ahead to 2006 and we have Nick Lampson mounting his comeback as the Democratic nominee against DeLay. But guess who’s also back? Former one-term Congressman Steve Stockman has filed to challenge DeLay as an independent… setting up a 3-way race between a Congressman and two Ex-Congressman. Quite unusual.

Stockman is to the right of even Tom DeLay, so there seem to be two potential scenarios for November. First, Lampson and Stockman split the anybody-but-DeLay vote and DeLay is easily re-elected. Second, Stockman draws votes from the right and makes DeLay vulnerable to Democrat Lampson. DeLay is probably re-elected, but it could be very close.

We’ll definitely be watching this one to see what happens!

13 Responses to “Strange Race Down in Texas…”

  1. Kyle B Says:

    i saw a poll recently that showed Delay wasn’t doing very well in his district. In a match up with a un named Democratic opponent Delay was just dead even with the un named democrat. But as John Stewart joked un named democrats usually do better then named ones.

  2. IndiPol Says:

    Delay is in trouble down here. Lampson (D) is regarded fairly well.

  3. Austin Cassidy Says:

    Nationally his career is probably dead, but as far as being re-elected I don’t think it’ll be much of a problem for him. I’d predict a minimum 6-8% win for DeLay. He can cough twice and raise half a million dollars…

  4. Mark B Says:

    As a resident and activist in TX district 22, I remain puzzled as to why anyone considers DeLay re-election a “sure thing”. The poll mentioned aboved, a Gallup poll conducted on December 5th, reads much worse than your commenter acknowledges:

    Q: If Tom DeLay runs for re-election in 2006, in general, are you more likely to vote for the Republican candidate Tom DeLay or for the Democratic Party’s candidate for Congress?

    Tom DeLay: 36%
    Unnamed Democrat: 49%

    Voters’ Opinion of Tom DeLay


    Based on what you have heard or read, do you think the charges against DeLay are definitely true, probably true, probably not true, or definitely not true?

    Definitely or Probably True—55%
    Definitely or Probably False—34%

    Find the poll here:

    Also, you may want to note, given that this is a blog covering third party issues, that this is acutally a four-way race, with independant Michael Fjetland joining the race for the third consecutive time ( It is also likely that the local libertarian party will field someone for this race, as they did in 2002. All three of these independants are openly right-of-center.

    Also, in the minds of the residents of TX District 22, a “generic unnamed Democrat” conjures up the image of someone far more left than Nick Lampson, the former congressman who often is tagged with the “Conservative Democrat” label.

    And anyone who thinks Tom DeLay has retained his fund-raising muscle simply hasn’t been paying attention to current events. Not only would they know that DeLay’s money-machine is now almost impotent, but they would also know that Nick Lampson reached $1 million in campaign contributions faster than any congressional democrat campaign in history.

    Facing two and possibly three right-wing third party challengers, and a incredibly well-funded and popular democrat, DeLay is in for an interesting year.

  5. Adam Says:

    I have to agree with the above comments, DeLay is not safe. In fact I’d predict that he would lose by about 10% if the election were held today.

  6. esso Says:

    I think if it were a race between DeLay and a pile of horse shit, I’d vote for the shit. At least it’s nutritious for the soil. lol

  7. Austin Cassidy Says:

    In the article I was talking about the entry of a semi-serious independent candidate into the race… I try to (whenever possible) focus on third party and independent candidates who have a chance of winning or influencing their races, not just the ones who enjoy running for office as a hobby. Michael Fjetland is not a serious candidate… in 2004 he got 2% of the vote without a major independent in the race and without the intense focus that this contest will attract.

    As to Tom DeLay being dead, I seriously think people are underestimating him. I’ve seen way too many thieves and slimeballs re-elected by landslides in races where some people were sure they were done for.

    Don’t get the wrong impression that I’m some big Tom DeLay fan. I’ll tell you straight away that Ted Kennedy is a lock for re-election… I’d never vote for him in a million years, but just because he’s a lousy Senator and as corrupt as they come doesn’t mean he won’t roll right over his opposition.

    DeLay’s legal troubles are the only thing that can really bring him down. He’ll need to be forced into quitting the race or damaged much worse than he is now in order for the Dems to win this contest.

  8. Austin Cassidy Says:

    I’d also offer up this article from a local paper in DeLay’s district.


  9. rj Says:

    I wonder if part of this (Mark B, since you said you were there) is people that don’t vote usually are planning to due to seeing Delay as an embarassment to their district.

    Most politically apathetic people say Congress is bad in general, but that usually doesn’t apply to the hometown representative. Delay’s district can’t say that, since he was Congress pretty much.

    It amazes me that Delay would be having trouble fundraising as well. I figured he would get a national funding base due to his popularity and visibility. Unless Republicans are throwing him under a bus…

  10. Kyle B Says:

    if i had to predict a winner i would have to pick lampson.

  11. Randy Edwards Says:

    Delay would be in deep trouble if he faced just Nick Lampson in the fall. But, as pointed out above, that won’t be the case.

    Stockman can probably raise money and run a decent campaign. We know Lampson will do that. If those two split the 49% opposition to Delay, Delay can keep the 36% and win. Particularly troubling for Democrats is the fact that this is a HEAVILY Republican district. Many conservative voters will be inclined to cast their protest vote for Stockman, not Lampson.

  12. IndiPol Says:

    Stockman is not going to be a factor. The guy is whacko. Lampson is going to garner the anti-delay voters.

  13. Mark B Says:

    Point taken on Fjetland. He won’t draw over 3,000 votes in any case. Just thought it was interesting that in a state with two independants running for Gov, we may have three independant/third party filers for District 22.

    A note on that article, Austin…While the by-line is Sugarland, the article is actually penned by a reporter for the Austin American-Statesmen, which was for all intents and purposes a leftist newspaper until its purchase a few years back by Cox News Services, the right-leaning national chain that owns the Atlanta Journal Consitution, The Dayton Daily News, Palm Beach Daily News and many more.

    Here is an article written inside the district, from a week ago in the Pasadena Citizen. But maybe I just like it since I’m quoted in it:

    RJ - As far as the apathy vote, and first-time voters, I unfortunately think that 2004 was a watershed year for that phenomenon, and that GOTV efforts targeted at infrequent voters will be a big challenge of the Lampson campaign. Nonetheless, it is a weak district ready to fall. During re-districting, DeLay, who felt safe, gave away some of his GOP stronghold neighborhoods to adjacent to District 2 in Beaumont (so that Ted Poe could defeat Lampson).

    Additionally, the districts demographics have shifted, with large numbers of new arrivials in Democratic developments like Mission Bend, as well as a significant number of new Asian voters. Take a quick peek at downballot filings in the district, and you will see a part of the Dem strategy—Neeta Sane for County Treasurer (Indian), Farhan Shamsi for JP (Pakistani), Steve Brown for State Rep and Grady Prestage for Commisioner (African-American), Veronica Torres for District Clerk and Rudy Velasquez for District Attorney (Hispanic).

    Anyway, just also wanted to say great blog, Austin. I have hit this site many times through Technorati searches, and the writing has always been great…You seem to have a knack for including the perfect combo of hotwords in the perfect proximity.

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