As if all that is not enough... now we have word via Hotline and Reuters that a coalition of both conservative and moderate House Republicans are gathering signatures to force elections of new House Leadership. A move designed to further distance themselves and mitigate the damage from indicted former Republican Majority Leader Tom Delay and his self proclaimed "close friend" Jack Abramoff.
The national Republican party is beginning to look a lot like the New York Republican party.
Congressional Quarterly reporting:
Three GOP Foes Will Probe Impact of Texas Strongman’s Legal Woes
For months, embattled Texas Republican Rep. Tom DeLay has faced the prospects of a tough re-election contest in November. But the degree to which the former House majority leader’s legal problems may threaten his political career will be tested much sooner: in the March 7 Republican primary in Texas’ 22nd District.
This became clear after three Republican challengers to DeLay met Monday’s filing deadline in Texas: Pat Baig, a retired credit manager and teacher; Tom Campbell, a former counsel to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and Mike Fjetland, a lawyer who took 17 percent and 20 percent in underfunded primary challenges to DeLay in 2000 and 2002.
None of these contenders is well known, and DeLay is heavily favored to win renomination for a 12th term. But the primary vote will be an important barometer of any GOP discontent with the incumbent.
Assuming DeLay survives the primary, he also will face his most serious Democratic challenger to date in former Rep. Nick Lampson (1997-2005), who lost his 2004 race in the adjacent 2nd District.
Adding an additional layer of unpredictability to DeLay’s fortunes is the unexpected reemergence of former Texas Rep. Steve Stockman, a conservative Republican who says he plans to run in November as an independent. Stockman unseated veteran Democratic Rep. Jack Brooks in the 1994 Republican upswing but lost two years later to Lampson.