More on DeLay's CD22 Seat: There will be no special election

I received the following memo today from the Republican Party of Texas.

Process for Filling Vacancy & Selecting Replacement Nominee for Congressional District 22.

In light of the announcement from Congressman Tom DeLay that he will not be seeking reelection in November 2006, but will be resigning and moving out of state, the Texas Election Code sets forth several actions that will need to be taken once he actually moves and/or resigns. This memo will give a brief overview of those actions. It is not intended to address every potential issue that may arise.

1. Administrative declaration of ineligibility.

At this point Congressman DeLay has not resigned nor is he ineligible. He is expected to move out of state within the next couple of months. At that time, Chairman Benkiser will review the facts to determine whether or not he is eligible to remain on the November 2006 ballot. If the Chairman is presented with "public records" that "conclusively establish" that Congressman DeLay is in fact ineligible, she will declare him ineligible for placement on the November 2006 ballot.

In summary, once it has been properly established that Congressman DeLay has moved out of state, Chairman Benkiser will declare Congressman DeLay ineligible to be placed on the November 2006 ballot. Once that occurs, two separate events take place: a new Republican nominee for the November 2006 ballot will be named, and a special election will be called to fill the unexpired term of Congressman DeLay. Included below are pertinent sections from the Texas Election Code (TEC) for your consideration.

TEC Sec. 145
A candidate may be declared ineligible only as provided by this section.
145.003(b) A candidate in the general election for state and county officers may be declared ineligible before the 30th day preceding Election Day by:
145.003(b)(1) the party officer [State Party Chairman] responsible for certifying the candidate’s name for placement on the general election ballot, in the case of a candidate who is a political party’s nominee;
145.003(f) A candidate may be declared ineligible only if:
145.003(f)(2) facts indicating that the candidate is ineligible are conclusively established by another public record.

2. Replacing an ineligible nominee.

If and when Congressman DeLay is declared ineligible, the Texas Election Code sets forth the manner in which the Party replaces an ineligible nominee. Congressional District 22 is made up of portions of four counties: Harris, Brazoria, Fort Bend and Galveston (see attached spreadsheet for a complete listing of the precincts). A "district executive committee" composed of four members (one precinct chairman from each of the four counties) will determine the new Republican nominee.

Sec. 171.054 describes the specific composition of a "district executive committee" in this situation. Because none of these counties are wholly situated within the district, Section 171.054 (2) applies. It states that "one precinct chair from each county that is only partly situated in the district, elected by and from among the precinct chairs of the precincts in that part of the county" will comprise the district executive committee. Sec. 171.054(b) states that each county chair having precincts within the district shall call a meeting of all of those precinct chairs within both the district and county. Sec. 171.022 states that the meeting shall be called after the precinct chairs take office, which would be May 1, 2006. Sec. 171.054(e) states that the state chair shall call the first meeting of the district executive committee and shall notify each committee member in advance of the meeting of its time, place, and purpose. 171.054(d) directs the members of the district executive committee to elect a chairman at the committee’s first meeting from among the membership. Once the district executive committee selects a replacement nominee, the chair of the district executive committee must certify the replacement nominee in accordance with 145.037. Sec. 145.038 allows for the State Executive Committee to appoint the replacement nominee only if the district executive committee fails to do so by the 70th day before a general election.

In summary, after the State Chairman determines that Congressman DeLay is ineligible, she will call a meeting of the district executive committee. That committee will be made up of four precinct chairmen, each of whom is elected by the precinct chairmen from his or her own county within the congressional district. The district executive committee will meet and vote on the replacement Republican nominee for the November ballot. Should the district executive committee fail to take the appropriate action by August 29, 2006, the State Chairman may call a meeting of the State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) for the purpose of selecting a replacement nominee.

3. Filling a vacancy at special election.

The unexpired term of the office will be filled by a special election in accordance with Sec. 203 & 204 of the Texas Election Code. This special election is conducted by the Secretary of State and only determines the candidate that will fill the vacancy between the time the current nominee is declared ineligible and the date the current term of office ends.

So, in case anyone is curious, there will be no special election, and nobody will even make one move until Mr. DeLay actually resigns and moves from the district.

Suffice it to say, I have already had one Precinct Chair ask for my support to be appointed to the District Executive Committee. I like this individual well enough, but I am feeling a bit disgruntled at the "establishment" of the party right now. This person is, at the grassroots level, establishment all the way and manages to get herself/himself appointed or elected to everything that comes up. This person needs a rest and to give someone else a shot. I'm thinking we might need somebody fresh to look at the situation.


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