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DeLay to remove name from ballot after Texas GOP loses court battle

[JURIST] Former US House Majority Leader Tom DeLay [JURIST news archive] will withdraw his name from the Texas ballot in this fall's congressional elections, a Republican strategist told AP on Tuesday. DeLay's move comes one day after US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia [OYEZ profile] denied a request [JURIST reports] from the Texas Republican Party to stay a federal appeals court ruling [text, PDF] preventing the party from replacing DeLay with another GOP candidate. According to the decision handed down last week by the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website], the state Republican Party cannot replace DeLay even though he now resides in Virginia because he could return to Texas before election day. Without a candidate on the ballot, the GOP could throw its hopes behind a write-in candidate to oppose Democrat Nick Lampson.

DeLay resigned from Congress [JURIST report] earlier this year after winning a March primary for his congressional seat. He is awaiting a Texas trial on money laundering and conspiracy charges [JURIST report] for allegedly using corporate money to fund legislative campaigns. AP has more. The Houston Chronicle has local coverage.

5:11 PM ET - In a statement released later Tuesday, DeLay said:

Earlier this year, I resigned from the U.S. House of Representatives and became a resident of the State of Virginia to establish my new business, and where I now legally reside, pay taxes and vote.

This decision was and is irrevocable, which I made clear from Day One.

My action was taken in accordance with Texas law, federal precedent and common sense. I felt it was my duty to allow Texas Republicans to choose a new candidate for the Fall Election Ballot. ...

Unfortunately, the Federal courts have slammed the door shut on a fair ballot choice between two 22nd District residents representing our two major parties. ...

Voters should be concerned. While judges are denying Texas voters a fair choice this Fall, the courts allowed the Democrat Party in New Jersey to withdraw Robert Torricelli and substitute Frank Lautenberg in a similar case just weeks before the 2002 U.S. Senate election.
Read DeLay's full statement.

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