Fox News Channel’s Jim Angle is just now reporting that Rep. Tom Delay is withdrawing from his congressional race. It’s unclear if he will finish out the rest of this term and then step down or if he will step down now.
The speculation is that Rep. Delay believes he is unable to win reelection and has determined it is best to withdraw from his campaign.
There may be a press conference tomorrow. More information as it comes in.
Rep. Tom DeLay, whose iron hold on the House Republicans melted as a lobbying corruption scandal engulfed the Capitol, told TIME that he will not seek reelection and will leave Congress within months. Taking defiant swipes at “the left” and the press, he said he feels “liberated” and vowed to pursue an aggressive speaking and organizing campaign aimed at promoting foster care, Republican candidates and a closer connection between religion and government.
“I’m going to announce tomorrow that I’m not running for reelection and that I’m going to leave Congress,” DeLay, who turns 59 on Saturday, said during a 90-minute interview on Monday. “I’m very much at peace with it.” He notified President Bush in the afternoon. DeLay and his wife, Christine, said they had been prepared to fight, but that he decided last Wednesday, after months of prayer and contemplation, to spare his suburban Houston district the mudfest to come. “This had become a referendum on me,” he said. “So it’s better for me to step aside and let it be a referendum on ideas, Republican values and what’s important for this district.”
Tom Delay gave an interview at the Galveston County Daily News:
Under constant fire from Democrats, indicted on state charges and embroiled in a federal investigation, Tom DeLay said Monday he would retire from the U.S. House of Representatives and move to the Washington, D.C., area, abandoning the office he has held since 1984.
In exclusive interviews Monday with The Galveston County Daily News and Time magazine, the 11-term Republican congressman from Sugar Land said his decision was best for his district and based on troubling internal polling numbers.
“It is obvious that this district is very polarized,” said DeLay, whose district includes part of Galveston County.
“It was obvious to me that the 22nd District deserved more than an election that was turning into a referendum on me rather than what was important to the district.”
DeLay said he and his staff scrutinized internal polls in December and again after the March GOP primary and didn’t like what they saw.
Those polls showed him beating Democrat Nick Lampson in the general election but in a race that would be too close for comfort, DeLay said.
“Luckily there were more people that loved me than hated me,” said DeLay. “Even though I thought I could win, it was a little too risky.”
Time has an Q&A with Delay.
Update: Fox News confirms that Delay will step down from congress in late spring or early summer.
Update II: The Political Pitbull has the video of Chris Matthews and Time Mag’s Mike Allen discussing the breaking story on Tucker Carlson’s show.