DeLay rethinks retirement

Former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay suggested Friday that he may not be ready for retirement just yet, a day after a federal judge ruled that his name must remain on the November ballot even though he resigned from Congress.

DeLay, who came home to Sugar Land for a previously scheduled event, also criticized U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks’ ruling that the former House majority leader’s name had to remain on the ballot.

“For this guy to say he can’t tell where I’m going to be on Election Day, and that I am forced to be on the ballot, well, they may get exactly what they want,” DeLay told supporters to raucous applause. Sparks is a Democrat appointed by Republican former President George Bush.

Later, reporters asked Delay if he now planned to run. He didn’t say no.

“We have to wait and see what the 5th Circuit does on appeal,” he said.

The Texas Republican Party appealed to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans immediately after Sparks’ ruling Thursday in Austin. Attorney Jim Bopp said he hoped to have a decision from the higher court this month, allowing the GOP to nominate a new candidate.

DeLay, who is awaiting trial on Texas charges of money laundering and conspiracy in a campaign finance case, won the Republican primary in March but resigned from Congress on June 9 and said he has moved to Virginia.

He still owns _ and his wife, Christine, still lives in _ his Sugar Land house, where DeLay also spends time, the Democrats pointed out.

Democrats want to keep his name and his legal troubles on the minds of voters as Democrat Nick Lampson tries to capture DeLay’s 22nd congressional district seat in suburban Houston. The party sued to keep the GOP from removing DeLay’s name from the ballot.

Republicans want to name a replacement nominee, and several prominent Houston area politicians are vying for the spot.

The U.S. Constitution states a member of Congress on Election Day must be an inhabitant of the state where his district is located. Sparks said he was not convinced that DeLay would not return to Texas.

© 2006 The Associated Press