The Twenty-Second Congressional District in Texas, Sugarland to be specific, became an exciting race when Tom Delay, the former powerhouse representative for the Republicans, was abandoned by his party and decided to leave Congress for more hospitable climes. Virginia, to be specific.
The Democrats, in a move which seemed to be smart at the time, demanded Delay’s name be kept on the ballot. The plan was a clearly hypocritical move by the party, since in the previous election they went to court to allow themselves to replace their badly-losing candidate on a New Jersey ballot, well after the statutory deadline for such an action. The plan seemed to backfire on Democrats when Delay mused that if he could not be removed from the ballot, he might go ahead and run for his old seat; local polls showed Delay would be a strong favorite in such a case.
But Delay was made sick of politics by the collapse of support from the GOP, and the weak-willed abandonment of Delay by so many colleagues he had supported and defended convinced Tom that there was little good to be had in returning to Congress. So it is, that Delay went ahead to get his name out of the race, and to support a write-in candidate. This marked a poor condition for Republicans, since write-in candidates have almost no chance to win, especially against a known opponent, and Nick “Satan’s Not Such A Bad Guy” Lampson is well known in the area. Enter Shelley Sekula-Gibbs.
Sekula-Gibbs may appear to be a relative unknown to people outside Houston, but S-G (as I will call her here for convenience) is a courageous and outspoken Republican, and quite popular among Houston conservatives. I know this as a Houston conservative. Also, unlike some politicians, S-G already lives in the necessary area and so is no outsider or interloper. It should be noted that while Lampson lives in the greater Houston area, he has moved around to suit his goals - from Beaumont where he originally won election to Congress, now to Sugarland in order to try to claim Delay’s old seat; the redistricting which corrected half a century of Democrat gerrymandering cost Lampson his seat, so like all bad movie villains or nominal Democrats, Lampson is seeking a measure of revenge by going after his nemesis’ seat.
To be blunt, the Republicans have done a poor job with regard to this issue; they owed Delay much better support than they gave him when Ronnie Earle started his latest vendetta, and they effectively forced Tom to run for a seat he no longer wanted, in order to play tactical games which did not work out. The current mess is the responsibility of the national and Texas GOP committees, and if Lampson is able to steal it away, it’s because people like Hastert and Mehlman let it happen. Fortunately, the GOP has a very good candidate in Sekula-Gibbs, and for all the obstacles they have put in her path, she can win this thing. It’s by no means going to be easy, but by selecting S-G for the candidacy, at least the GOP has finally done something right, and given the voters of District 22 a decent chance to have effective representation. It remains to be seen if the write-in obstacle will be too great an obstacle, or Lampson’s clearly deficient qualities will leave the door open for Sekula-Gibbs’ run.