Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R.-Tex.), facing an uphill battle for re-election after an indictment last year, told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews tonight that he’ll pull out of the race to retain his Texas seat.
Matthews delivered the surprising news during a call to Joe Scarborough’s show.
DeLay had appeared emboldened after fending off three Republican primary challengers last month. He secured 62% of the vote, silencing some pundits who said he needed at least 60% to be a viable contender in the general election.
The move came as a surprise to DeLay’s fans in the conservative movement, many of whom saluted him in February at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
(Hat tip to Ian Schwartz at Expose the Left for alerting me to the news.)
UPDATE — 10:42 p.m.: The Drudge Report is now quoting Time magazine, confirming the story.
TOM DELAY TELLS TIME MAGAZINE HE’S QUITTING CONGRESS; WILL NOT SEEK RE-ELECTION AND WILL LEAVE CONGRESS WITHIN MONTHS
Mon Apr 03 2006 22:37:51 ET
In Exclusive First Interview with TIME’s Mike Allen, Delay Says He Feels ‘Liberated’ And Vowed to Pursue Aggressive Speaking and Organizing Campaign Aimed at Promoting Foster Care, Republican Candidates and Closer Connection Between Religion and Government
New York – Rep. Tom DeLay, whose iron hold on the House Republicans melted as a lobbying corruption scandal engulfed the Capitol, told TIME on Monday that he will not seek reelection and will leave Congress within months. Taking defiant swipes at “the left” and the press, he said he feels “liberated” and vowed to pursue an aggressive speaking and organizing campaign aimed at promoting foster care, Republican candidates and a closer connection between religion and government.