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Lone Star Project Report

Lessons from Tom DeLay - How to Rig A Texas Election

Chapter 1: Avoiding a Special Election and Hand Picking Your Candidate

Tom DeLay: A Bully Takes a Coward’s Exit

Lone Star Project Sorts through Texas Election Code
Regarding DeLay Replacement

“It's just so contrary to what Texas is all about, to turn tail and run and not fight for what you believe in.”-Tom DeLay, (El Paso Times, May 14, 2003) in a now ironic comment criticizing Texas House members who broke quorum to block his redistricting scheme.

Tom DeLay will apparently leave Congress in the same shameful way he exercised power, acting like a bully who is above the law and a coward who wants to rig one last election. DeLay will leave the State of Texas bitterly divided along partisan lines, led by corrupt leaders like House Speaker Tom Craddick and Governor Rick Perry. From Sam Rayburn to George W. Bush, Texans crossed party lines to do what was best for our state and its people. First in Washington and then in Austin, Tom DeLay destroyed traditional bipartisanship and now leaves Texas in worse shape than he found it. As a result of DeLay’s corrupt redistricting scheme and the ethics scandal that surrounds him, Texas lost almost 100 years of seniority and high leadership positions in both parties. Now, rather than face the judgment of the voters in a race against an accomplished and ethical opponent, Tom DeLay has decided to “turn tail and run.”

Replacing a resigning Member of Congress is not a straightforward task. Read the Full Lone Star Project release.


You are a powerful but controversial incumbent politician who is embroiled in a bribery scandal and under indictment for money laundering. You must resign your seat to avoid an embarrassing defeat at the polls and to use your campaign funds to pay legal fees. However, you want to retain influence in order to hand pick a successor beholden to you. Follow the simple steps below.

Step 1

Remain a candidate until after your party primary has passed. If necessary, make bold statements declaring that you will win the race. This will protect your tough guy image and most importantly keeps campaign contributors on the hook and giving as long as possible.
"I plan to run a very vigorous campaign, and I plan to win it," he [DeLay] said. (Source: The Associated Press - March 4, 2006).

Step 2

Soon after the primary, announce that you are not going to run after all. This is tricky. You need to announce quickly following the primary, so you can protect as much campaign cash as possible for your legal bills. Don’t announce too soon though, because you don’t want to trigger a special election on May 13, a statutory election day in Texas. (Source: Texas Election Code § 41.001) An announcement during the first week of April is just about right.

See Steps 3 through 7