DeLay Quits Race

In a development that sent political shockwaves across the country, Sugarland Congressman Tom DeLay, one of the most powerful politicians in Washington, says he will drop out of the race for re-election and resign his seat in Congress. Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell reports.

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In a taped statement he released to the Associated Press, the former House Majority Leader got straight to the point.

"The voters of the 22nd District of Texas deserve a campaign about the vital national issues that they care most about, and that affect their lives every day, and not a campaign focused solely as a referendum on me. So today I am announcing my intention to resign my seat in the house."

DeLay says this decision has nothing to do with his legal problems. He's under indictment in Austin accused of violating state election laws. He stepped down as Majority Leader in January because of his ties with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and last week, DeLay's former Chief of Staff pleaded guilty to corruption charges. DeLay himself is under investigation, but he says he welcomes it because he's done nothing wrong.

"I have always acted solely on my beliefs and convictions. Nothing more. I have no fear whatsoever about any investigation into me or my personal or professional activities."

DeLay says he will resign sometime in June, but he will continue to be active in Republican politics and conservative causes. That's why he's moving his home to the Washington DC area.

"So that I can dedicate the necessary time and energy to making a successful transition from the public to the private sectors for myself and family."

DeLay says he thinks he could have won re-election but it would have been nasty and would've cost a fortune. He also thinks any Republican who replaces him on the November ballot will beat Democrat Nick Lampson. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.

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