Difficult not impossible
Congressman Tom Delay announced he will do whatever is needed so a Republican write-in can be elected from his house seat in November.
WASHINGTON -- Dogged by scandal, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said Tuesday he will do whatever is necessary to remove his name from the ballot, a step that will allow the party to field a write-in candidate in hopes of holding his seat in Texas.
DeLay acted one day after Texas Republicans lost a court battle in their bid to name a replacement candidate for him on the November ballot.
"I will take the actions necessary to remove my name from the Texas ballot. To do anything else would be hypocrisy," DeLay said in a statement. "I strongly encourage the Republican Party to take any and all actions necessary to give Texas voters an up-or-down choice this fall between two major party candidates."
There was every sign they were trying. Several Republicans said local party officials hoped to unite behind a write-in candidate, possibly David Wallace, mayor of DeLay's home town of Sugar Land.
Whether Delay is on the ballot or not, can a write-in get elected in November. The answer is the title of my post. A write-in candidate has been elected to Congress as recently as 1982. His name was Ron Packard, and he served in Congress as a Republican from 1982-2000.
In 1982, Packard lost the Republican primary for United States House of Representatives in a crowded field of candidates to Johnnie Crean by 92 votes. Crean's character came into issue, with his negative ads and false claim of endorsement by Ronald Reagan, so, after some reluctance, Packard launched a campaign as a write-in candidate. Packard ran a poll which found that voters would vote for him, especially if they knew how to write him in. Packard campaigned with a gigantic pencil as a prop while giving out golf pencils to district residents. An organized effort among fellow Mormons helped the campaign. Packard won the election by 11,000 votes to become the first independent write-in candidate to defeat candidates of both the Democratic and Republican parties. Packard was only the fourth person to be elected to Congress as an write-in candidate. Upon being sworn in, Packard joined the Republican caucus. He was reelected as a Republican eight times with no substantive opposition in the heavily Republican district.
Back in 1983 I bought my first copy of The Almanac of American Politics. I remember reading about Packard's win and it stuck in my memory since.
So its been done. Of course that was 24 years ago and now as too often happens politics ends up being fought in the courts besides at the polling places. I don't know what the Texas laws are on write-ins, and for certain Democrats will be scrutunizing every single one of these ballots.
One point in favor this year over Packard's triumph in 1982- Whomever runs won't have to face a Republican and a Democratic challenger. Packard did when he was first elected.
This race will be interesting come November. Much more so than this one. Anyone in Rightroots want to reassess the Irey endorsement and fundraising again? Thats before the GOP loses two or three seats they could retain while money is being wasted on a fantasy.
I wouldn't hold my breath. Most Knuckleheads won't admit their mistakes.
Hat tip- James Joyner at OTB
Linked to- Right Wing Nation, Adam's Blog, Planck's Constant,