In N.Va., Chance Help From DeLay

By Annie Gowen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 14, 2006

One congressional primary candidate in Northern Virginia got some last-minute help from one of his district's newest voters, former House majority leader Tom DeLay, the Texas Republican who recently took up official residence in Alexandria.

Mark Ellmore, a candidate for the GOP nomination in the 8th Congressional District, said he had a chance meeting with DeLay on Sunday. DeLay, under indictment on campaign money-laundering charges in Texas, offered his support.

Ellmore, who lost to Tom O'Donoghue in the GOP primary to face Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D) in November, called DeLay's office Monday morning.

DeLay's staff members set up an automated call from their boss that went to 8,000 voters in the district -- which includes Alexandria, Arlington County and part of Fairfax County -- urging them to the polls to support Ellmore.

Problem was, in the intro, DeLay said "Northern California" instead of "Northern Virginia."

"It had to be done rapid-fire, and unfortunately it was just an error," Ellmore said. "People got the gist of the message. That Mark Ellmore -- as Mr. DeLay said -- is most capable of competing on the next level."

He said he welcomed DeLay's support -- regardless of what the majority of left-leaning voters in the district might think of the former Texas congressman.

"Look," Ellmore said, "I have zero political clout. I was honored."

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