The corpse is not even 24 hours old and already the vultures are circling the wagon in Texas's 22nd Congressional District. Vying to replace the outgoing disgraced former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is Sugar Land Mayor David G. Wallace, 44, a popular second-term city leader who's schedule to run for a third term in the upcoming May 13 municipal elections. As I've been saying, the decision by the GOP to push out DeLay was intended to take the national spotlight off of this tarnished district and thus take the heat off of Republican incumbents who are fighting for political survival in the November midterms. But the strategy might just backfire, as DeLay's replacement will likely be Wallace, who's in bed with controversial Houston businessman and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth financial backer Bob Perry.
Wallace, who's in business with Perry's son Will, issued a press release last month disclosing the relationship. "I have consummated a business transaction with W. C. Perry Realty Investment Fund, LP and W. C. Perry Properties, LP whereby I will serve as Chairman of the Investment Committee....I have relocated my business office to Perry's office in Sugar Land in early January." The elder Perry is a major Texas fundraiser and pal of Karl Rove. He made headlines in 2004 when he donated $200,000 to fund the sleazy Swiftboat Veterans ads that shamefully attacked Sen. John Kerry's war record.
Perry's also caught flak this past week for a gift he gave to Bill Ceverha, the former treasurer of Texas Republicans for a Republican Majority (TRMPAC), one of DeLay's PAC's that's a major focus of Texas District Attorney Ronnie Earle's investigation of The Hammer's 2004 shady redistricting scheme in which Ceverha's been implicated. Perry's helped pay Ceverha's legal bills.
You have to question the GOP's ultimate strategy here. And you have to admire their creativity. Their idea of cleaning up dirt (DeLay) is to use even more dirt (Wallace).
The Democratic challenger, Nick Lampson, who's been leading DeLay in recent polls, continues to see the scandal as a boon for his campaign. "From day one I have been running because this district needs a Congressman who will make headlines for the right reasons and work for the mainstream values I share with the people of this district."