Texas Redistricting Is One More Hurdle for DeLay
By RICK LYMAN
Published: January 12, 2006
HOUSTON, Jan. 11 – Representative Tom DeLay is in the toughest re-election campaign of his 11-term House career, a battle that might be decided not only by his legal problems, but also by the Congressional redistricting plan he spearheaded in 2003.
The redistricting led to the loss of six Democratic seats in Texas in 2004, but it also shifted thousands of Democratic voters to strong Republican districts. Among those, Mr. DeLay’s 22nd District added several Democratic-leaning parts of Galveston County; several political analysts estimate they may have raised the district’s Democratic vote around 5 percent.
“There is huge irony here,” said Richard Murray, a University of Houston political scientist. “Six Democrats in Congress were eliminated, but the seventh victim may turnout to be the author of the plan.”
Should Mr. DeLay survive, as expected, a March 7 primary challenge by three Republican opponents, in November he will face a former Democratic congressman, Nick Lampson, whose district once included those parts of Galveston County now in Mr. DeLay’s district.
Mr. Lampson lost his seat in 2004 when his district, the Second, was reconfigured into a Republican-dominated one. He moved into the 22nd District last April, he said, with the intention of taking on Mr. DeLay.
“I’m not running against him because he took my district,” Mr. Lampson said, seated in a two-room suite of campaign offices in Clear Lake. “I’m running against him because I think I was a better member of Congress than he was, and I can be again.”