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DeLay an easy winner in Texas GOP primary

By
March 8, 2006

Scandal-scarred U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay won handily in the Republican primary for his congressional seat on Tuesday, taking 61 percent of the votes against three opponents.

The race had been seen as a barometer of his political strength since he resigned as House majority leader following indictment in Texas on campaign finance charges and his friendlobbyist Jack Abramoff was indicted in a Washington corruption scandal.

DeLay skipped his election night party to attend a fund-raiser in Washington put on by lobbyists.

With 86 percent of the votes counted, DeLay led his closest opponent Tom Campbell by 61 percent to 30 percent. In a statement, DeLay said voters in his Houston area district had rejected the "politics of personal destruction" to support him.

It was the first time since he joined Congress 22 years ago that DeLay has had serious opposition in the primary.

He will face Democrat Nick Lampson, who was unopposed in his party’s primary, in the November general election.

Lampson is a former U.S. representative who lost re-election after his district was changed to favor Republicans in a controversial 2003 remapping of Texas congressional districts led by DeLay.

Also, Chris Bell, another former congressman who lost his seat after the DeLay redistricting, won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination and will face incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Perry in November.

They may be joined in the race by independent candidates State Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander and musician Kinky Friedman, who, with the primaries over, now can begin petition drives to get on the ballot. They have two months to get 45,500 signatures each.