RESULT: Pete Olson (R) 53% - Nick Lampson (D) 45%
Rothenberg described U.S. Representative Nick Lampson’s victory in 2006 as, “a mega, mega super-duper fluke. This is the former Tom DeLay open seat.” [Salon.com, 7/21/08] Lampson had previously served four terms in Texas’ old 9th District, before being redistricted out of office in 2004. Although he worked hard and raised a ton of money, Lampson’s Congressional comeback in 2006 was aided by a couple events: first, he started running against scandal-scarred former Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R), who wound up resigning from the House five months before Election Day. Then, courts blocked Republicans from filling DeLay’s vacancy on the ballot, forcing their preferred candidate, Shelley Sekula Gibbs, to run in a general election as a write-in candidate.
Lampson is a top GOP target. After months of internal warfare, Republicans were relieved when former Senate aide Pete Olson defeated Sekula-Gibbs (68.5 % to 31.5%) in an April GOP runoff; Sekula Gibbs was seen by GOP leaders as increasingly erratic and a weak candidate against Lampson. With Olson as their nominee, Republicans believe they have a real shot of ousting the incumbent. As reported in Roll Call, “Republicans will argue that Lampson's record on tax cuts and energy, as well as his support for legislation pushed by labor unions, will hurt him, along with what they will contend is a failed record on addressing illegal immigration. The GOP also expects Lampson to suffer because it is a presidential year, and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is expected to beat Obama in the 22nd district.” [Roll Call, 7/8/08]