District 22 Straw Poll

Republican Party officials in former congressman Tom DeLay's district will try to pick a candidate to back. Whoever is selected will have to run as a write-in candidate. Houston Public Radio's Capella Tucker reports the meeting is not welcomed by everybody in the Republican Party.

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Former Congressman Tom DeLay ran in the primary and won, but then resigned from Congress. The Republican Party lost a legal battle to put another name on the ballot. The meeting tonight is to try to throw the party's support behind one write-in candidate. But Fort Bend County GOP Chair Gary Gillen says a meeting behind closed doors is a mistake.

"In Fort Bend County alone we generally have about 20,000 voters in our Republican primary. Yet a group of about 60 people or less is ostensibly going to make a decision as to who we're supposed to support."

Texas GOP Spokesperson Gretchen Essell says tonight's meeting is for meaningful and productive dialogue among republicans.

"The state Republican Party has worked diligently with grassroots Republican leaders across the district encouraging all parties to come to a consensus for a write-in candidate."

Longtime local political analyst George Strong says the write-in candidate has an up-hill battle. In addition to introducing themselves to voters, the GOP will have to educate the public on how to cast a write-in ballot which can be cumbersome on electronic voting machines. Strong says the motivation to enter this race is not for this November's election.

"Most of them I think are assuming that Nick Lampson will win this seat and will be sworn in and will get to serve in Congress representing the 22nd Congressional District, but this is predominately a Republican district and so they'll be thinking ahead to starting their campaigns for 2008."

The Democrat in the race is Nick Lampson and the Libertarian candidate is Bob Smither. Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.

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