Houston

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Early round-up

The New York Times writes up the leadership fight brewing, with members scattered around the globe. The short version: DeLay aint coming back as Maority Leader.

AP reports on DeLay donating Abramoff's donations to charity. I have two questions on this:

Abramoff Round Up

From the National Journal Early Bird News:

Courts: Abramoff Cuts Deal; Subpoenas Issued In DeLay Case

California Dreaming: Earle Looks Into Donor's Relationship With DeLay

The Houston Chronicle and the San Diego Union-Tribune (among others) is reporting that Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle is looking into Tom DeLay's connection to a prominent poltical donor from California. The donor, Brent Wilkes, is one of the four defense contractors accused of bribing former Representative Duke Cunningham.

DeLay to Face Primary Challenge

Tom DeLay will face a challenge in his 2006 primary from Attorney Michael Fjetland, reports today's edition of the Houston Chronicle. Fjetland has run against DeLay three times both as a Republican and an independent and lost each race. Says Fjetland:

I was not willing to run again. I had decided not to. But when the indictment came down, it became a whole new ballgame. It really does change the entire dimension of the whole thing. If he's convicted and I'm not on the ballot, then no one is.

Election Call Numbers Are Growing

The odds that DeLay could return as House Majority Leader are becoming smaller by the day. The Houston Chronicle reports that two new moderates, Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) and Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), have joined the chorus in calling for elections to select a new House Majority Leader. From the article:

Round Up

Judge Priest's DeLay ruling gets front-page billing in major dailies today. There are lots of opportunities for guessing-the-anonymous-source, particularly when talking about DeLay's political future--or lack thereof.

DeLay in court again tomorrow

The Houston Chronicle's R.G. Ratcliffe writes up a preview of the court hearing tomorrow. DeLay's lawyers are trying to get the case dismissed:

The core issue before visiting Judge Pat Priest on Tuesday will be whether the crimes DeLay is accused of committing were actually crimes in 2002 when they allegedly occurred.

[...]

Former aides repay DeLay

Samantha Levine of the Houston Chronicle profiles all the former DeLay aides who are repaying the indicted former Majority Leader with cash at tonight's fundraiser. Also, Public Citizen is holding a protest outside -- if you're in DC, near 101 Constitution Ave, attend from 5:30 to 6:30 and bring your own sign.

Full speed ahead

DeLay lawyer Dick DeGuerin told the Houston Chronicle that he and his client want the trial to get underway as soon as possible.

"We've got to go forward — get to trial as soon as possible," DeGuerin said. "Tom DeLay has a primary in March. He has a leadership position. And in politics, nature abhors a vacuum."

A lesson learned?

I personally think Clay Robison at the Houston Chronicle might be giving Tom DeLay a little bit too much credit, but it's an interesting theory...