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April 23, 2005

Lampson, Morrison committed to take on Tom DeLay

By Byron LaMasters

The Houston Chronicle reports that Richard Morrison, Gordon Quan and Nick Lampson met in the past days about who will take on Tom DeLay:

Three Democrats who want to challenge House Majority Leader Tom DeLay without a divisive primary were unable Friday to agree on a single candidate against the powerful Sugar Land Republican.

Sugar Land lawyer Richard Morrison, who ran against DeLay last November, former U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson, of Beaumont, and Houston City Councilman Gordon Quan met at Morrison's behest.

Morrison said he and Lampson still are committed to the race. Quan said he will form an exploratory committee. Lampson could not be reached.

As you might have noticed, Frontier PAC is running a blogad on BOR, urging the DCCC to get behind Morrison. My understanding is that the DCCC will not be financially supporting any candidate in the primary, but will financially support the Democratic nominee for the district. Of course, I have no idea if the DCCC has encouraged another candidate (Lampson, Quan, etc.) to enter the race, but I don't particularly have a problem with a competitive primary as long as all candidates run a positive campaign.

Several weeks ago, many Texas bloggers held a conference call with Richard Morrison. I didn't have the opportunity to write on the call at the time, but Morrison was very clear that he was not "considering" the race. He had no plan to step aside for anyone. He said that a candidate from outside the district (Lampson, Quan, etc.) might have trouble selling himself to conservative voters in the district - especially areas such as Richmond, Rosenberg, parts of Galveston, etc. If an outside candidate won the primary, Morrison fears that Tom DeLay would be able to successfully label the candidate as an "out of touch liberal" from outside the district.

I'm inclined to agree with Morrison here. Lampson could probably raise more money, and Quan might be able to appeal to some Republican-leaning Asian-American voters, but Morrison is the candidate that has been building a grassroots organization for two years now, and he's determined to not only take on Tom DeLay, but to build a true Democratic organization in the 22nd Congressional District.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at April 23, 2005 04:32 PM | TrackBack


With due respect to Richard Morrison ( and I do think he'll be the best candidate), if he truly is the best candidate for District 22 and has the best grassroots organization then he shouldn't be too worried about it. As much as we talk about it, it's still the Democratic voters of District 22 that pick their nominee. So if he has trouble with those "'out of touch liberals' from outside the district", do we really think he's going to be able to take on Tom Delay? I hope the best for Mr. Morrison, but in the race for 22, he should take a primary as a character building.

Posted by: Cody at April 23, 2005 08:27 PM

When nobody else had the guts to run, Richard Morrison did it. The fact is he is as big a hero to District 22 Democrats as anyone in our party and Lampson needs to realize that if he runs, he'll be embarassed in two cycles in a row- his career is over. Quan has some interesting credentials, but doesn't live in the district. Morrison is our guy in 22, and is the only one with a ghost of a chance of winning (though the odds are against everybody).

This will hurt everyone in the race, b/c too much of their money, time, effort and credibility will be wasted on a primary battle. We need to stay united, and that means picking a candidate now. That candidate should be the only guy with nothing to lose and deep roots in this district- Richard Morrison.

Posted by: Andrew Dobbs at April 23, 2005 09:25 PM

Interesting that he brought up Richmond and Rosenburg. The areas west of the Brazos River are way more Democratic than east of the river. I think Morrison ran a great campaign with no national help. Let the two fight it out positively. Lampson is known in the NASA area. He can get some of those GOP votes near Clear Lake and Webster. It would be a close and competitive primary.

Posted by: pc at April 24, 2005 01:29 AM

There's no good reason why these three men should beat each other up for the right to defeat La Cucaracha Grande.

Every Democrat in the country ought to be running against Tom DeLay -- tied around the neck of his GOP opponent -- anyway.

Lampson could run for Congress in the 14th (Ron Paul is retiring, allegedly, and that district also overlaps some of Lampson's old one in Galveston Co.) and Gordon Quan can challenge John Culberson in the 7th. That's potentially a three-seat switch, and that would go a long way toward nullifying the DeLay-engineered gerrymandering.

Posted by: PDiddie at April 24, 2005 09:19 AM

But DeLay has had an Democratic opponent in the last several elections...and they were committed and worked hard too. This is not to knock Richard Morrison because he's clearly a good candidate who would make an excellent Congressman and he's worked very hard.

But let's be honest - the reason he did better than DeLay's prior opponents was because the district had new areas and the ethical cloud growing around DeLay. I would be willing to bet that had the Ethics Cmte not admonished DeLay three times and if DeLay had stayed out of redistricting, Richard Morrison would have faced the same fate as prior Dems - get a few points better than Dem performance because he was working the district, but nothing significant. Let's face it - this is a Republican district that's represented by a flawed Representative.

For me the best opponent is the one who can demonstrate why they can get 50% plus one. The ethics storm currently enguling DeLay bode well for Dems, but he also had excellent first quarter fundraising, so his support is devoted.

For all three candidates, these would be my questions:
- How much do you think this race will cost? What's your plan to raise that much money?
- Where can you pick-up votes that DeLay got in '04? What issues/stances of yours make you uniquely able to pick-up these votes?
- How do think the statewide races will impact the 22nd?
- What happens if DeLay is not the GOP candidate (through retirement, indictment, etc)? How can you win traditionally-GOP voters against a non-flawed candidate?

Posted by: anonymous at April 24, 2005 05:03 PM

Laqmpson is an asshole if he runs. morrison we'll have to talk himself up as a liberal to win the primary-- too bad this will cost him a general election he'll probabaly lose anyway. Morrison is running for the district-- Lampson is running so he cna boost him image by taking on Tom Delay (like Chris Bell did).

Posted by: Dub at April 24, 2005 05:04 PM

*we'll-- will
im an idiot sometimes

Posted by: Dub at April 24, 2005 05:06 PM

All over the blogosphere I hear that Morrison deserves to be the candidate because "he had the guts to take on DeLay." There was a lady a few years ago named Machanga who "had the guts to take on DeLay" after God spoke to her and told her to run. There's lots of people out there with "guts", but that doesn't make them good candidates, or more importantly, good congressmen.

As a member of an extremly active grassroots organization in DeLay's district, I can tell you that there are many people who are real excited about the prospects of what both Lampson and Quan might bring to the race.

Posted by: Bryan at April 24, 2005 07:49 PM

Before donating in this race, all progressives should check out:


Posted by: District22Dem at April 24, 2005 08:50 PM

I guess Ron Paul doesn't read enough liberal blogs... because he obviously hasn't gotten the news that he's retiring. =)

Posted by: Chris Elam at April 25, 2005 03:24 PM
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