Texas's 22nd congressional district election, 2008

Texas's 22nd congressional district election, 2008

The 2008 election for Texas's 22nd congressional district will be held on November 4, 2008 as part of the United States House of Representatives elections for the 111th United States Congress. This race is considered a key race due to the fact that the seat was previously held by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, as well as the fact that the seat is represented by a Democrat, Nick Lampson, whose victory was largely attributed to Republicans being forced to run a write-in campaign. [cite news |first=Jonathan |last=Weisman |title=With DeLay Out, GOP Searches for Write-In Candidate |url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/08/AR2006080800647.html |work=Washington Post |location=Washington, D.C. |page=A04 |date=2006-08-09 |accessdate=2008-02-27]

Background

Tom DeLay had been facing a myriad of ethical challenges and allegations of corruption stemming from his association with controversial Republican donor Jack Abramoff. DeLay's controversial nature, which dated to his role as House Majority Whip (and later, House Majority Leader), played a key role in his 55-41 margin of victory in 2004 against a heavily underfunded Democrat. By contrast, George W. Bush carried the district with 64% of the vote compared to 34% for Democrat John Kerry. The district, while heavily Republican, had been made more Democratic with the addition of a heavily blue-collar portion of Galveston County, which provided a base of unionized blue-collar refinery workers versus the more affluent, suburban white-collar profile of most other areas of the suburban Houston district, including the suburbs of Sugar Land and Pearland, the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston's Clear Lake City development, and the city of Pasadena.

In March 2006, DeLay won 62% of the vote in a four-way Republican primary, which would have enabled DeLay to take on former Congressman Nick Lampson, who was redistricted out of his old district in 2004. On April 3, 2006 however, after former DeLay aide Tony Rudy pleaded guilty to corruption charges stemming from the Abramoff scandal, DeLay announced he would withdraw from the race, resigning from Congress on June 9, 2006. [cite news |first=Jonathan |last=Weisman |coauthors=Chris Cillizza |title=DeLay to Resign From Congress |url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/03/AR2006040301787.html |work=Washington Post |page=A01 |date=2006-04-04 |accessdate=2008-02-27] Republicans attempted to replace DeLay's name on the ballot, but were prevented from doing so after Texas Democrats argued that DeLay was still eligible for re-election, a decision that a district judge ruled in the Democrats' favor. After the Supreme Court upheld the ruling, DeLay withdrew his name from the race on August 8, leaving Republicans without a candidate on the ballot.

On August 17, 2006, precinct chairs nominated Houston city councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs as the GOP write-in candidate. Despite polling that suggested a competitive race as well as a visit from George W. Bush himself, Lampson won the seat with 51%, winning in all four counties and even some heavily Republican precincts. However, Sekula-Gibbs won a special election that was announced by Republican Governor Rick Perry, taking in 62.5% of the vote. In her two-month stint as Congresswoman, she stirred controversy when several DeLay staffers quit during her first week in Washington, citing claims that Sekula-Gibbs acted in an unprofessional manner. That, along with her spotty voting record as a Houston City Councilwoman, raised questions regarding Sekula-Gibbs' leadership and character.

Candidates

Democratic

* Nick Lampson, incumbent.

Republican

* Pete Olson, attorney, Naval Reserve officer and former staffer of Senator John Cornyn and former Senator Phil Gramm.

Libertarian

* John Wieder

Defeated in primary

* Kevyn Bazzy, Army Reservist, Intelligence Officer. Graduate of the University of Houston, served in Iraq as a civilian Intelligence Officer working for US Central Command (CENTCOM) in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. ( [http://www.bazzy08.com Campaign website] ).
* Cynthia Dunbar, Attorney and Member, Texas State Board of Education ( [http://www.cynthiadunbar.com Campaign website] ).
* Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, former Congresswoman and dermatologist ( [http://sekulagibbsforcongress.com Campaign website] ).
* Dean Hrbacek, Former Sugar Land mayor, accountant and tax attorney ( [http://www.deanforcongress.com Campaign website] ). Has received the endorsement of a majority of precinct chairs in Republican-dominated Fort Bend County, as well as the Houston Chronicle (the only major newspaper in the region) [cite news |title=Primary endorsements |url=http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/5566427.html |work=Houston Chronicle |date=2008-02-25 |accessdate=2008-02-27] and many elected officials.
* Brian Klock, Financial consultant & Navy reservist ( [http://www.klockforcongress.org Campaign website] ). Has received the endorsement of prominent Republican donor and homebuilder Bob Perry. Klock recently garnered media attention over a billboard which depicted the skyline of downtown Houston engulfed in flames.
* John Manlove, former Pasadena Mayor, successful award-winning advertising executive and former Latin America missionary ( [http://www.johnmanloveforcongress.com Campaign website] ). Several mayors have endorsed Manlove, including current Sugar Land mayor David Wallace, who ran an aborted write-in bid for the seat in 2006.
* Ryan Rowley, Gulf War veteran and IT contractor ( [http://www.ryan-rowley.com Campaign website] ).
* Jim Squier, Senior District Court Judge ( [http://squierforcongress.com Campaign website] )
* Robert Talton, State Representative, District 144 (including Pasadena) ( [http://taltonforcongress.com Campaign website] )

References


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