DeLay to Make Way for Write-In Candidate

The Associated Press
Tuesday, August 8, 2006; 2:25 PM

WASHINGTON -- Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay intends to withdraw as a candidate for Congress, a Republican strategist said Tuesday, a step that would allow the party to field a write-in candidate in hopes of holding his seat.

The development came one day after Texas Republicans lost a court battle in their bid to replace DeLay on the November ballot.

There will be no Republican candidate to face Democrat Nick Lampson, a former House member.

Texas Republicans on Monday abandoned their court fight to replace DeLay on the November ballot after being turned back at the Supreme Court.

The decision came after Justice Antonin Scalia rejected Texas Republicans' request to block an appeals court ruling saying DeLay's name should remain on the ballot.

"I think all our legal avenues are exhausted in terms of affecting the ruling prior to the election," said Jim Bopp Jr., the attorney who argued the Republican Party's case to allow party officials to substitute another candidate for DeLay.

Under indictment on money laundering charges in Texas, DeLay won a March primary election that made him the Republican nominee for Congress from his home district near Houston. In June, he resigned from Congress and said he would not seek re-election.

Democrats had sued to keep DeLay on the ballot, with the former lawmaker's legal troubles becoming a symbol for claims of Republican corruption.

In a statement late Monday, Bopp warned Democrats, "Be careful what you ask for."

The lawyer said Democrats "insisted he run for Congress, now it's up to voters to decide if Democrats are going to be happy" on Election Day.

DeLay is awaiting trial in Texas state court on money laundering charges alleging that illegal corporate cash helped pay for legislative campaigns in 2002.

© 2006 The Associated Press