WASHINGTON – Allowing another Republican candidate to replace former Rep. Tom DeLay on the ballot would promote the interests of voters by giving them a choice, GOP attorneys argued Wednesday in a filing to a federal appeals court.
DeLay won his primary election in a suburban Houston congressional district but resigned June 9. He has since attempted to withdraw, but a federal judge ruled the embattled former House majority leader must stay on the Nov. 7 ballot.
Attorneys for the Republican Party of Texas appealed. The appeals court is scheduled to take up the case Monday.
"The voters here should also be afforded a real choice regarding who should govern them," attorneys said in a brief to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. "Allowing DeLay to be replaced on the November ballot will further this fundamental principle of democracy."
GOP leaders argue state elections law allows them to replace DeLay because he no longer lives in Texas. Party Chairwoman Tina Benkiser declared DeLay ineligible because he said he lived in Alexandria, Va. DeLay and his wife still have a home in the Houston suburb of Sugar Land.
The federal judge earlier ruled that DeLay's eligibility is set by the U.S. Constitution and can be determined only by whether he is an inhabitant of Texas on Election Day.
Since the ruling, DeLay has left open the possibility that he will run for his old seat.
Democrat Nick Lampson is campaigning for DeLay's seat.