House Majority Leader Tom DeLay won an 11th term Tuesday, sweeping aside Democrat challenger Richard Morrison and surviving the stigma of a House ethics investigation and a subpoena related to the contentious Texas congressional redistricting he orchestrated.
DeLay took a decisive lead over Morrison, winning with 57 percent of the vote. The victory was gratifying "especially after all they threw at me," DeLay said.
Considered one of the most powerful lawmakers in Washington, DeLay f blared.
"We have witnessed a well-financed, well-produced and spirited campaign, not only by a superb Democratic challenger, but by a national conglomerate of outside groups bent on preventing Texas values from being brought to bear in the nation's capital," DeLay said. "Yet despite all this working against us, our voters in Texas have made history and a decisive victory has been won."
In conceding the race, Morrison said: "We've gotten more votes than anyone that's gone against Mr. DeLay, we've raised more money than anyone. He's going to have to pay attention to our needs."
DeLay did lose some votes because of the controversy surrounding his fund-raising and redistricting activities.
"I voted for Morrison — and that's anti-DeLay," said Karen West, 49, a Sugar Land homemaker and mother of three. "I don't trust him. I think he's a real egomaniac. And in light of recent events, some of the other people don't trust him either."
The House Ethics Committee criticized DeLay in October for creating an appearance of giving campaign contributors special access on pending energy legislation and for using the Federal Aviation Administration to track a plane Democratic legislators used to flee the state to avoid a vote on redistricting.
The House ethics panel also awaits the outcome of a grand jury investigation in Texas involving alleged campaign finance irregularities before it decides whether to consider a complaint that DeLay engaged in money laundering.
Two weeks before the election, DeLay was served a subpoena to testify in a lawsuit filed by a Democratic state lawmaker over fund-raising by a political action committee connected to DeLay's national political committee. DeLay's lawyers went to court to block the subpoena, which the congressman described as "dirty gutter politics" filed in the waning days of a political campaign.