Lampson Holds-Off Write-In Challenger Sekula Gibbs

For the first time in more than two decades, a Democrat will represent the 22nd Congressional District in Washington. Nick Lampson outlasted write-in Republican challenger Shelley Sekula Gibbs last night in the race to replace longtime GOP powerhouse Tom DeLay. Houston Public Radio's Jack Williams reports.

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Lampson celebrated with supporters at his victory party after a campaign that started in May of last year with the longtime Democrat announcing he'd challenge Delay. He ended up facing Sekula Gibbs instead after Delay withdrew from the race earlier this year and says the win sends a strong message.

"The message that is being send from the 22nd Congressional District of Texas is that we're finished with corruption and we're finished with scandal. We want true ethics legislation that's going to change the way our Congress works and we need to get down to business and do the will of the people and not of our parties and I'm excited about the opportunities that we can make that happen."

Late polling numbers last week showed Sekula Gibbs had become a legitimate contender as a write-in candidate, but Lampson says he never really doubted that he'd win the race.

"I always felt confident. I felt confident that my team was going to succeed with what they were trying to do. We did this together. It wasn't me, it wasn't them. It took us both and all of us to do it. I was confident that we could pull this thing off."

Lampson will begin serving the 22nd Congressional District in January, but in the meantime, Sekula Gibbs will get a taste of Washington after her victory last night in the special election to finish Tom Delay's unexpired term. Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson's reports.

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Shelley Sekula GibbsShelley Sekula Gibbs is technically the next representative of House District 22. Sekula Gibbs won the special election -- putting her in office for about two months before Nick Lampson is sworn into the new term. Sekula Gibbs says she will head to Washington within the next few days.

"Congressional District 22, the center, the heart of the nation beats right here. And I am proud, very proud to be your next congresswoman."

Her plans for the upcoming weeks include introducing legislation designed to secure the Texas/Mexico border. And perhaps her biggest plan involves the decision to run for District 22 again when the seat comes up for election in two years.

"You see that I won the special election by a very large margin and I think that had this been a straight-up race, I would be in both positions. But since it wasn't, you know you have to work with what you have, and we'll be working very, very hard to take this seat back as a Republican seat in two years."

Sekula Gibbs credits her loss to the disadvantage of being a write-in candidate. Texas voters have never elected a write-in candidate to congress. Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Radio News.

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