Texas U.S. House district 22 is up for grabs in 2008.
Here are some facts, history and views on this race.
Texas U.S. House district 22, previously held by disgraced former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, is now held by Democrat Nick Lampson.
( Here is a photo of Mr. Lampson. He is happy in this picture.)
Here is some information about Mr. Lampson from the 2008 Almanac of American Politics—
Lampson grew up in Beaumont; he got his first job sweeping floors at age 12 when his father died. After graduating from Lamar University, he taught science in Beaumont schools, leading the first local Earth Day celebration in 1979, and then taught a real estate management course at Lamar; he also headed a home health care company. In 1977, he was elected Jefferson County tax assessor; he claimed to cut the cost of tax collections during his 18 years on the job. In Lampson’s previous House stint, he had a moderate voting record and was a member of the New Democrat Coalition. He promoted the Johnson Space Center from his Science Committee assignment and also looked after local needs from his perch on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. In 2003, Lampson fell victim to the 2003 redistricting plan that was designed to oust Anglo Democrats like him. Republican Ted Poe defeated him 56%-43% the next year in the newly formed 2d District.
On the Republican side, an April 8 runoff will decide the nomination.
One of the two Republicans in the runoff, Pete Olson, a former chief of staff to far right-wing Texas Senator John Cornyn, is a conventionally awful conservative Republican.
Mr. Olson is your man for more war, more tax cuts for the rich and no progress on universal health care.
The other candidate, former Houston City Councilwoman Dr. Shelley Sekula Gibbs , is uniquely awful.
Due to a quirk in electoral law, Ms. Sekula Gibbs served a two-month term in the U.S. House between Election Day 2006 and Congressional Inauguration Day 2007.
Here is an account of that term from the Associated Press after staffers resigned citing mistreatment by Ms. Sekula Gibbs —
“The staff members have a combined thirty-plus years of experience working on the Hill,” Mr. James wrote. “Never has any member of Congress treated us with as much disrespect and unprofessionalism as we witnessed during those five days.”
Ms. Sekula-Gibbs has raised eyebrows on Capitol Hill, largely because of the resignations. Earlier, she told reporters she planned to resolve such thorny issues as tax cuts, immigration reform and the Iraq war — all in less than two weeks of a lame-duck Congress”
Despite how lousy the Republicans are, voting for Mr. Lampson is a judgement call.
On one hand, in 2006 Mr. Lampson campaigned to the right in order to win a Republican-leaning district. George W. Bush won 64% here in 2004. Sometimes you do what you have to do.
On the other hand, Lampson’s 2006 campaign seemed at times further to the right than required. Specifically egregious in my view was an ad criticizing Dr. Sekula Gibbs for routine city council votes on water and sewer rate hikes.
Cities have to be able to function.
You could argue that as long as Mr. Lampson supports Nancy Pelosi for House Speaker and votes with Democrats as often as political realities allow, why not take the best you are going to get in tough circumstances?
Or, you could argue that we are not always obligated to take the least-bad option. Sometimes you can just leave a blank spot on your ballot. If we always take the least-bad option, we’ll just end up being used.
For example, as a lifelong resident of cities, I’ve long felt Democrats take the votes of black folks in every election, but often offer little in return.
On Election Day, you might be able to stomach Mr. Lampson and vote for him. Or you might feel it is all too much. We’ll see how obnoxious Mr. Lampson’s campaign is in 2008.
This is a basic dilemma in districts where a candidate for the minority party in the area has to contort his or herself to get elected.
( Photo of contortionist.)
The 22nd Congressional district of Texas is in the Houston metropolitan area. A focus in the district is on the growing suburban city of Sugar Land. 80,000 of the 22nd’s 800,000 people live in Sugar Land. (Here is a history of Sugar Land.)
The district includes portions of Fort Bend, Brazoria, Galveston and Harris counties. While Sugar Land is in Fort Bend ( Which is a big place with nearly 500,000 people), roughly half the district lives in Harris County.
Some these places are aging industrial areas while others are newer suburbs.
In contrast to booming Sugar Land, Pasadena is an established center of industry. 140,000 people live in Pasadena. (Here is a history of Pasadena.)
( Photo of Pasadena, Texas.)
Houston suburbs are very ethnically diverse. This is a strong point of Houston and the Houston area. The 22nd is counted as 8% Asian, 9% black and with 20% of Hispanic origin.
An important source of jobs in this Republican district is the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. Republicans are fine with government spending when they are the ones cashing the checks.
(Relative importance of Texas-22 as seen from moon. Here are some basic facts about the moon. )
Good luck to liberal and progressive voters in Texas U.S House district 22—You’ll need it!
Voters holding strong moral values have prevailed in recent Spanish elections.
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and his Socialist party will again lead Spain.
Prime Minister Zapatero ran on his first-term record.
This record included legalizing gay marriage, making it easier to get a divorce, pulling Spanish troops out of Iraq and allocating a larger share of the Spanish budget to the needs of the poor.
The Spanish public followed the right course and returned Mr. Zapatero to office.