After enlarging their majority in the past two elections, House Republicans have begun to fear that public attention to members' travel and relations with lobbyists will make ethics a potent issue that could cost the party seats in next year's midterm races.While the WP article only focuses on the effect on incumbents, DeLay may play a role in the Illinois 6th District race. From the April 22 Sun-Times:
In what Republican strategists call "the DeLay effect," questions plaguing House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) are starting to hurt his fellow party members, who are facing news coverage of their own trips and use of relatives on their campaign payrolls. Liberal interest groups have begun running advertising in districts where Republicans may be in trouble, trying to tie the incumbents to their leaders' troubles. ***
Rick Davis, a Republican strategist who was presidential campaign manager for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), said the ethics issue is putting the party "into a bit of troublesome water."
"The combination of gridlock and ethics charges indicate that the system's busted, and the system is the majority party," Davis said. ***
Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said that although a particular member's conduct matters only in that person's specific race, the Democrats plan to make "an overarching theme" of the influence that special interests have gained over the legislative process.
Peter Roskam, who worked for DeLay 20 years ago, voiced support.Far be it from me to tell Rahm and the DCCC what to do, but if the 6th District GOP primary goes as expected, I would hope that they will highlight the fact that Roskam started his political career on the knee of Tom DeLay.
"Trotting out some of ... these old accusations that are two and three and four years old is a little bit tiresome," Roskam said. "I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt." ***
Roskam, 43, is a lawyer who lives in Wheaton. He worked as an aide to DeLay in 1985 and part of 1986, but said he has "not had any contact with him essentially for 20 years."
"I think everybody agrees that he's one of the most effective legislators in Washington, D.C.," Roskam said. "Knowing what I know now about what Tom DeLay's been accused of, my attitude would be to support him."