Thursday, July 06, 2006

Another Delay on Texas Ballots

Or more accurately, the same DeLay. And his name is Tom.
The Texas Republican Party cannot replace former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay on November's ballot, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks ruled today.

The Texas Democratic Party sued to keep the indicted Sugar Land Republican on the ballot because party officials believed that their candidate Nick Lampson could more easily defeat DeLay instead of a GOP replacement.

Sparks' order prevents state Republican Chairwoman Tina Benkiser from completing the process of naming a DeLay successor.
The entire issue revolves around state and federal election laws, and just exactly where (and when) DeLay's legal residency is established. According to the Statesman, "Under state law, a political party cannot replace a nominee who resigns in mid-election."

State Republicans argued that DeLay had changed his legal residency to Virginia, making him ineligible to run and bypassing the above prohibition, but District Judge Sparks ruled that the U.S. Constitution only specifies the residency requirement as of election day. (Article 1, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution states that "No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.") And since that date is still in the future, no legal ruling regarding DeLay's residency as of this November's election day can be determined at this time.

Of course, it didn't help that the DeLay family still owns and maintains their "former residence" in Sugar Land, Texas.
Lawyers for the Democratic Party ... noted that DeLay testified his wife was still living at their Sugar Land residence and that they subpoenaed him for his court appearance at that house.
D'oh! Note to DeLay: in the future, please disregard all mail and other correspondence received at former address.

The state Republican Party is expected to appeal Sparks' decision to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, but if that fails then DeLay will remain on the ballot this November. In that case, let's hope he will actually put forth some effort to campaign. It likely would not take too great an effort for the former House majority leader to beat Democrat Nick Lampson (who does not even live in the disputed House district), but an indifferent showing might tip the scales in the Democrat's favor.

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