What do political observers on campus think will be the political upshot for former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s pending resignation? It just depends on who you ask.DeLay, who is fighting felony money laundering and conspiracy charges in Texas stemming from contributions made to GOP legislative candidates in 2002, told The Associated Press Tuesday that he will resign sometime before the middle of June. Republicans won control of the Texas House that year for the first time since Reconstruction, and a congressional redistricting plan engineered by DeLay was passed by the next year by state legislators.
The voters of his Houston-area district ‘deserve a campaign about the vital national issues that they care most about and that affect their lives every day, and not a campaign focused solely as a referendum on me,” DeLay said in a television interview reported by the AP.
College Republican Tyler Fultz said DeLay’s resignation from his 22nd Congressional District seat will alter the power structure behind the Republican Party.
“I think in a large way it will represent a shift in the way the Republican Party operates,” Fultz said. “I think you may see a lot more fighting between Republicans.”
But, Fultz said, the main threat to the GOP will be internal, not external.
“If there is one thing the Republican Party can count on, it’s that the Democrats will be incompetent,” said the junior political science and history major. “Ever since 9/11, (the) Democratic Party has shown a complete lack of ability to capitalize on Republican mistakes.”
Blake Williams, a senior political science major and member of the College Democrats, sees the resignation as an opportunity for Democrats to focus on other issues.
“I think its a good sign that the Democrats will gain at lease one seat,” Williams said. “I think him stepping down will force the Democrats to move past (DeLay).”
Adam Schiffer, an assistant professor of political science, said DeLay, whom he called the Democrats’ “biggest target,” resigned after polls indicated he would have trouble winning back his own seat.
DeLay’s legal problems feed “the culture of corruption that the Democrats are trying to portray,” Schiffer said.