It looks like Tom "Its Hammer Time" DeLay, may be facing a tough re-election campaign due to his own un-ethical redistricting plan. Combined with the fact that he, and everyone he knows seems to be up on ethical or criminal charges, DeLay is having to focus on rebuilding his base back home due to eroded support. Taking 63% of his districts vote in 2002, he could only must 55% in the last election - and this was before all of his associates were put on trial. With everything else that is sure to fall out of the trees in the next year or so as he gets investigated further, the "Hammer" will hopefully turn into the "Door Nail."
DeLay Moves To Protect His Political Base Back in Texas
By Mike Allen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 3, 2005; Page A01
SUGAR LAND, Tex. -- House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), struggling to protect his Washington power base as legal and ethical issues fester, also has to watch his back on the home front.
Though the change has received little notice, DeLay's strength in his suburban Houston congressional district of strip malls and housing developments has eroded considerably -- forcing him to renew his focus on protecting his seat.
DeLay garnered 55 percent of the vote in the November election against a relatively unknown Democrat, an unusually modest showing for a veteran House member who is one of the most powerful politicians in Washington. Some Republican officials and DeLay supporters worry that with President Bush absent from the top of the ticket next year, liberal interest groups might target the conservative majority leader and spend millions of dollars on campaign ads to try to defeat him.
The outspoken and hard-charging DeLay, 57, got into trouble last year when the House ethics committee admonished him three times and three of his Texas associates were indicted by a Travis County grand jury on charges of illegal fundraising related to a controversial redistricting plan that DeLay helped push through the state legislature. Testimony began this week in a civil case brought in Austin by five Democrats who allege that a political action committee begun by DeLay improperly spent about $600,000 in corporate contributions to implement the plan and unseat them.
House Republican leaders responded to DeLay's problems by changing rules and tightening their control over the ethics committee, to discourage future cases against DeLay and other GOP members. National conservative groups rallied to DeLay's side. DeLay has denied any wrongdoing.
But DeLay now has to worry about "Texas 22," the congressional district he has represented for the past 21 years in the U.S. House. Ironically, the Texas redistricting plan he engineered over strong Democratic objections drained some vital Republican support and could make it tougher for him to win reelection. In his old district, DeLay took 60 percent of the vote in 2000 and 63 percent in 2002.
In 2003, at DeLay's behest, the Texas legislature redrew the state's congressional lines without waiting for the next census (in 2010), the customary occasion for redistricting. With the new districts, which still face court challenges, Texas elected five additional Republicans to the U.S. House last November, accounting for all of the party's net gain.