Monday, December 5


Just heard on CNN: Tom DeLay is going to trial on money laundering charges.

The way Blogger's been acting tonight, that may be all I get to post.

Whoops, there's more here and here.

A spokesman for DeLay, Kevin Madden, said Monday's decision in Austin, Texas, by Judge Pat Priest to dismiss the one conspiracy count against the congressman "underscores just how baseless and politically motivated the charges were. "

But Cris Feldman, an Austin attorney who represented Texas Democrats in a civil suit involving allegations of campaign irregularities in the 2002 House races, said, "DeLay still has to go to trial on a first-degree felony, and I don't think anyone would call that a victory."

Even if DeLay is acquitted, he may face his most serious electoral challenge yet next fall. In 2004, he won his 11th term with 55 percent of the vote. DeLay, who was first elected in 1984, had never won less than 60 percent of the vote.

Democrats have recruited former four-term Rep. Nick Lampson to challenge DeLay in 2006. Lampson was one of several Texas Democrats ousted from their seats in 2004 after DeLay engineered a redrawing of House boundaries in the state.

Ironically, DeLay may be more politically vulnerable in part because of the redistricting. As reconfigured, his Houston-area district included many voters he had not previously represented -- and they are hearing more about him largely through news coverage of his indictment and other ethical controversies.

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll in the district released Monday found that 49 percent of registered voters said they planned to support a Democrat in next year's election; 36 percent said they would vote for DeLay.

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