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DeLay on ballot but says he will not run

From Dana Bash
CNN Washington Bureau
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former Rep. Tom DeLay said on Tuesday he will not run for re-election despite having his name listed on the ballot in his Texas congressional district.

Monday, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia denied the Texas Republican Party's emergency request to block a lower court ruling that keeps DeLay's name on the November general election ballot for the state's vacant 22nd Congressional District seat.

"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," DeLay said in a written statement.

"This decision was and is irrevocable, which I made clear from day one," he added.

DeLay, who is fighting a state money-laundering indictment, said he will "take the actions necessary to remove my name from the Texas ballot."

The state Republican Party wanted to replace DeLay with another candidate to face Democratic nominee Nick Lampson in the fall election. The Texas GOP now plans to put forward a write-in candidate.

"Republicans are working together with grassroots leadership in the district to get behind and vigorously support one candidate, whether he or she is on the ballot or not", said Tina J. Benkiser, Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas.

TIME's Mike Allen reported on his blog Tuesday that DeLay was leaning toward endorsing a write-in candidate. (Full Storyexternal link)

Mike Malaise, Lampson's campaign manager, accused DeLay of cutting and running.

"He knows Nick Lampson is a strong candidate whose mainstream Texas values make him hard to beat in November," he said. "Nick will continue running his positive, issue-based campaign and we hope the multiple write-in candidates who enter this race will do the same and reject DeLay's brand of dirty politics."

DeLay announced his resignation from Congress shortly after winning the GOP nomination for a 12th term in the March primary election.

A district judge ruled last month that DeLay must remain on the ballot, and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week upheld that ruling. The Texas Republican Party filed an emergency petition with the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, and Scalia, who handles emergency appeals from Texas, responded quickly with his denial.

DeLay said the federal courts had "slammed the door shut on a fair ballot choice" for the residents of his former suburban Houston district.

"The court ruling allows a Democrat -- who just moved into this community -- to have his name appear on the ballot, but denies the Republican Party the opportunity to place a district Republican resident on that same ballot," DeLay said in his statement.

The Republican Party, which had asked that no action be taken until it could file an appeal, can now ask the full court to consider its emergency petition or it can file a full appeal, a process that could take weeks or months.

In an effort to keep his seat in Republican hands, DeLay announced that he was changing his legal residence to Virginia -- a move he said would disqualify him from November's race and allow the GOP to pick a new nominee.

But the district judge, Sam Sparks, ruled that DeLay in effect withdrew from the race, and Texas law prohibits the party from replacing a candidate under those circumstances.

The state Democratic Party went to court to keep Republicans from putting a replacement for DeLay on the ballot.


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Former Rep. Tom DeLay said Tuesday that he is a resident of Virginia and will not seek re-election.

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