Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Bugman Turns The Nozzle On Himself - maybe

The resignation of Congressman Tom DeLay (R TX-22) caused a nice buzz throughout the blogosphere. The right was screaming "politics of personal destruction" and the left just applauded - loudly, and I was among them.

DeLay's resignation came on the heels of two former aides, Tony Rudy and Michael Scanlon, pleading guilty to charges stemming from the Jack Abramoff corruption scandal. One can only wonder about the timing.

Arianna Huffington suggests following the money. Under US federal election rules DeLay can convert his campaign funds to cover his legal expenses.

Take note: as of February 15th, DeLay had close to $1.3 million squirreled away in his campaign war chest -- 1.3 million reasons for moving out of the House sooner than later.
And given the guilty pleas of two former aides, he's probably going to need every penny.

DeLay denies any wrongdoing, of course. Digby has a transcript of DeLay's interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer which will leave your head shaking. Batshit crazy is a mild description of DeLay's comments. One thing we find out for sure is that DeLay really likes golf.

However, resigning may not be that easy. Nevermind the stealing of a campaign war-chest of $1.3 million from whichever other Republican will now run in his place in Texas' 22nd District. DeLay has already won his primary and IS the Republican candidate for that district. Majikthise has collected the questions as to what happens now. DeLay is on the ballot and there is some suggestion that he just can't drop out.

Because he has already won the Republican primary, he can't simply drop out or the Republicans will have no candidate. So he has to be disqualified. "To be disqualified he must die, be convicted of a felony or move out of the state." Although DeLay may very well be convicted of a felony before November, his apparent plan is to pull up stakes and move to Virginia. He will retire from Congress sometime in late May or mid-June.
However, this from SSP makes it look like, after all rocks are turned over and the definitions are thrashed out, he may be able to withdraw and allow another candidate to run. Believe it or not, even the administrators of the Texas State Election Code couldn't answer the question until they reviewed the law.

A Special Election would cause untold problems. Special Elections, to fill a vacated seat, require that the winner achieve a clear majority. A plurality only applies to General Elections. Nick Lampson, the Democrat running in TX-22, could be faced with enough of a three-way race to prevent a victory in a first round of voting. Under this scenario, Lampson could end up having to face the voters three times between July and November.

Perhaps that's what DeLay had in mind. Or maybe he just wanted the $1.3 million.

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