House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's (search) campaign raised nearly $800,000 in the past three months, while his Democratic challenger added $500,000, putting both on pace for an expensive election next year.
DeLay has never raised so much during one quarter in 22 years. Analysts say both his campaign and that of former congressman Nick Lampson (search) are on pace to raise $5 million in the race for the Houston-area district.
"Tom DeLay can out-raise and out-spend anyone," said Robert Stein, dean of the School of Social Sciences at Rice University. "The truth is, should his problems get worse, it won't be Nick Lampson he's worried about."
Democrats have rekindled their interest in the seat in the wake of DeLay's ethics troubles, including questions about his fundraising techniques and lobbyist-financed travel. DeLay has denied wrongdoing.
Lampson announced his candidacy eight weeks ago.
"We have a long way to go," campaign manager Mike Malaise said. "Tom DeLay's shady lobbyist friends and special interest sponsors are going to dump millions of dollars into this race."
The latest tally puts DeLay's total for the 2005-06 election cycle at almost $1.3 million.
"Congressman DeLay's support remains strong in the district and around Texas," spokeswoman Shannon Flaherty said. She said labor unions, trial lawyers and liberal groups will probably support Lampson.
Lampson represented an adjacent district until redistricting that DeLay engineered cost him enough Democratic voters that he lost to Republican Ted Poe in 2004.