Stockman Jumps into Special Election

Talk about a soap opera! After running an abortive independent campaign for the general election against DeLay, former one-term Republican Congressman Steve Stockman has jumped into the newly called special election to serve out the final few weeks of DeLay’s term.

Why? I’m not really sure.

From Congressional Quarterly...

No congressional race has had more twists and turns this year — perhaps in many years — than the contest in Texas’ 22nd District, a suburban Houston constituency and the longtime bailiwick of Republican Tom DeLay, the former House majority leader who resigned his seat in June.

That status was burnished late Friday when hand-picked Republican candidate Shelley Sekula-Gibbs was joined by four other candidates — including Republican former Rep. Steve Stockman — in filing for a belatedly scheduled special election that will coincide with the regularly scheduled general election on Nov. 7.

Despite the Republican tendencies of the district’s voters, the leading candidate in the general election is the Democratic nominee, former Rep. Nick Lampson, who served in Congress from 1997 to 2005 and lost his seat under a mid-decade redistricting plan that DeLay had engineered.

Lampson is at least a slight favorite largely because a huge miscalculation by the state Republican Party and DeLay, after he resigned his House seat June 9, left the Republican ballot line blank and forced Sekula-Gibbs, a Houston city councilwoman, to run a very difficult write-in campaign for the general election.

Lampson on Friday announced that he would not run in the simultaneous special election, scheduled just last Tuesday by Republican Gov. Rick Perry, denouncing it as a Republican publicity stunt aimed at getting Sekula-Gibbs’ name before voters somewhere on the ballot in hopes that they will take the additional step of writing her name in for the general election.

Lampson’s decision drew a jab from Sekula-Gibbs, who accused him of ducking an opportunity to compete for the long-vacated seat. But that may be a smart tactical decision in a district that usually has a decided Republican lean and gave 64 percent to President Bush in 2004. It might be tougher for Lampson to convince the electorate to vote for a Democrat twice, rather than just once.

But Sekula-Gibbs will have plenty of company in both contests. According to a listing maintained by the Texas Secretary of State’s office, four other candidates filed to appear on the all-party special election ballot with Sekula-Gibbs.

The best known of these is Stockman, a staunch conservative who served one House term before losing to Lampson in 1996. Stockman — who, like Lampson, previously represented only a small portion of the 22nd District constituency under a previous congressional map — had earlier this year stated that he would run in the general election as an independent candidate against Lampson and DeLay, but changed his mind.

The other leading competitor to Sekula-Gibbs in the special election is Libertarian Party activist Bob Smither, an engineer who — unlike Sekula-Gibbs — will appear on the general election ballot against Lampson as his party’s nominee.

Two lesser-known Republicans also entered the special election: Don Richardson, a retired Air Force officer, and Giannibecego Hoa Tran, identified as a doctor.

In addition, Richardson and yet another little-known candidate, Joe Reasbeck, will also join Sekula-Gibbs in running write-in campaigns in the general election, having met an Aug. 29 deadline to certify their intentions to do so.

Perry’s decision to call the special election, which his office announced without fanfare, was a surprise. He had previously declined to do so in the almost five months since DeLay — his political standing severely eroded by ethics controversies — announced in early April that he planned to resign from the House rather than continue a difficult re-election campaign against Lampson.

With the special election now timed for Nov. 7, the winner will complete an unexpired term that will have less than two months remaining.

Democrats allege that Perry acted only after the Supreme Court early last month declined to block a federal appeals court ruling that prevented Texas Republican officials from replacing DeLay on the November ballot with another Republican candidate.

DeLay, who initially entered this year’s race and was renominated in a March 7 primary, had changed his residency to Virginia after his resignation in an attempt to have himself declared ineligible to run in Texas under the constitutional requirement that members of Congress live in the states they represent. But the courts determined that DeLay and the Republicans could not prove that he would not be a Texas resident on Election Day and thus ineligible to run.

DeLay nonetheless formally withdrew his name from the ballot, but the court rulings disallowed the Republicans from filling the ballot slot. That forced them to defend the seat through a risky and rare write-in campaign and to rally behind Sekula-Gibbs as their consensus candidate among several potential contenders.

3 Responses to “Stockman Jumps into Special Election”

  1. Joey Dauben Says:

    Stockman didn’t have enough valid signatures, btw. That’s unfortunate, because that man should definitely be serving in Congress again.

    Then again, if any one of you want to know why the media refuses to accept the LP as a serious threat, read what the Dallas Morning News had to say about the LP opponents in Dallas county.

    Not showing up for editorial interviews? Come on. With a record number of candidates, it won’t kill people to talk to the largest state newspaper…sigh.

  2. Jackcjackson Says:

    Stockman is considered as much of a Nut as anyone in the LP.

  3. chris campbell Says:

    Heard Stockman speak, he is a genuine guy and hope he shakes things up. Nice guy, tough race.

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