Lampson to Challenge DeLay for Seat

A former Democratic congressman announced Wednesday that he will try to win the seat held by Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (search), who has been hounded by allegations of ethics violations.

"We need leaders with a high standard of accountability to the public; who will recognize that there is only one standard for ethical behavior," Nick Lampson (search) told reporters gathered on the front lawn of his aunt's house in suburban Houston.

Although Lampson peppered his remarks with comments about an ethics controversy DeLay is facing, he claimed he would focus on his record from four terms in Congress and his knowledge of the district's needs.

"This shouldn't be a shouting match between who's right and who's left," he said. "I believe others are going to be shouting."

Lampson said he has begun to raise money from Republicans and Democrats for what he estimates will be a $5 million campaign.

National Democrats have long ignored the district, but questions about DeLay's fundraising techniques and lobbyist-financed travel have sparked interest in the 2006 race.

DeLay has represented the district since 1984. His office did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press.

Lampson represented an adjacent district until redistricting that DeLay engineered cost him enough Democratic voters that he lost to Republican Ted Poe (search) in 2004. But Lampson said that about 120,000 of his former constituents now live in DeLay's district.

Also considering a run for the Democratic nomination is Houston City Councilman Gordon Quan, a Chinese-American immigration lawyer who hopes to capitalize on the district's growing Asian population. Quan also did not immediately return a call seeking comment.