Friday, April 07, 2006

DeLay Supporters Crash Democrat's Event

ABC News
DeLay Supporters Crash Democrat's Event
DeLay Supporters Protest Appearance by Democratic Nominee for Lawmaker's Seat
By JUAN A. LOZANO Associated Press Writer
The Associated Press

SUGAR LAND, Texas - Supporters of U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay protested at an event Thursday held by the Democratic candidate for the congressman's seat, and the event quickly dissolved into a shouting and shoving match. Police were called, but made no arrests.

"I got pushed. I got hit. I got a sign wadded up in my face and my hat pulled down over my eyes," said Marsha Rovai, 69, a supporter of Nick Lampson. "They just did it to be nasty."

DeLay campaign manager Chris Homan said he organized the protest but DeLay, a Republican, didn't know about it.

"Mr. Lampson is going to have to get used to being confronted about his voting record the next seven months," Homan said.

DeLay, who is under indictment on campaign finance charges, announced this week that he will resign from Congress sometime before mid-June.

At the news conference, Lampson called on the governor to set a May 13 special election so the district would be represented after DeLay leaves.

But moments after the event began in DeLay's home town, Lampson and his supporters were surrounded by protesters who held up hand-written signs. Lampson was silenced by their chanting.

Republican Gov. Rick Perry later said that, unless DeLay offers him his resignation letter by the end of the week, the seat would not be filled until the November general election. The election of a Democrat now could give the Democratic Party a leg up in November.

Lampson represented an adjacent district for eight years until DeLay-engineered redistricting cost him re-election in 2004. He said the protest was nothing new.