Embattled former House majority leader Tom DeLay pledged Monday to continue fighting his political foes and urged supporters not to lose faith as he battles campaign finance charges.

"I'm very proud of my record," DeLay told a group of more than 100 supporters at a suburban Houston hotel. "They won't win by criminalizing politics or by the politics of personal destruction because we'll fight them every step of the way."

The Texas Republican had to step down as majority leader in September after he was accused with two Republican fundraisers of illegally funneling $190,000 in corporate donations to GOP candidates for the Texas Legislature.

All three men deny the charges. DeLay's trial could be held early next year.

About 15 protesters picketed outside the rally, holding signs such as "Save America Without DeLay!" and "DeLay Responds to Cash Not Constituents."

Inside the hotel, Martha Ludwig, 79, said she's always supported Delay and believes he will be exonerated. "I believe he'll be re-elected. We really need him," she said.