Ignoring facts, Barnes smeared DeLay challenger as "a carpetbagger" in a "working-class" Republican district

››› ››› JEREMY SCHULMAN

Weekly Standard executive editor Fred Barnes asserted that former Rep. Nick Lampson is "vulnerable to attack as a carpetbagger" in his race against Rep. Tom DeLay. It is true that, as Barnes noted, Lampson "used to represent a different district" and "moved into" Texas' 22nd Congressional District to run against DeLay. But in attacking Lampson, Barnes ignored some highly relevant facts: Lampson previously represented nearly one-fifth of what is now DeLay's district, and Lampson was defeated in his old district after it was reconfigured through a controversial redistricting plan spearheaded by DeLay.

During the "All-Star panel" segment of the March 8 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, Weekly Standard executive editor Fred Barnes asserted that former Rep. Nick Lampson (D-TX) is "vulnerable to attack as a carpetbagger" in his race against Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) in Texas' 22nd Congressional District. It is true that, as Barnes noted, Lampson "used to represent a different district" and "moved into" the 22nd to run against DeLay. But in attacking Lampson, Barnes ignored the highly relevant fact that Lampson previously represented nearly one-fifth of what is now DeLay's district. In 2003, a controversial Texas redistricting plan spearheaded by DeLay moved more than 100,000 largely Democratic voters out of Lampson's district and into DeLay's; as a result, Lampson was defeated in the 2004 election. In addition, Barnes asserted that the 22nd District is a "working-class district, suburban-middle-class and working-class district that's very, very Republican." In fact, according to figures from the 2000 census, the current 22nd District has the second-highest median household income in the state.

DeLay, who won the Republican primary for the seat on March 7, will face Lampson in the general election.

From the March 8 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:

BARNES: I mean, this is a suburban Houston, Texas, district. I mean, who do you think lives there? Pointy-headed intellectuals from Ivy League colleges? No. There's a bunch of -- it's a working-class district, suburban middle-class and working-class district that's very, very Republican, you know? Mega-churches, the whole bit. And 62 percent is pretty good. Now, the Democrat who has moved into the district, Nick Lampson, used to represent a different district in Texas. And he's vulnerable to attack as a carpetbagger. And I'm sure that's occurred to the campaign. The Republicans, yeah. So I think DeLay looks a lot better than he did just a couple of days ago.

From 1997 to 2005, Lampson -- then living in Beaumont, Texas -- represented Texas' 9th Congressional District, which was immediately east of the 22nd District. The 2003 redistricting plan pushed by DeLay moved several Democratic-leaning areas -- including parts of Galveston County -- out of the 9th District and into DeLay's 22nd District. Lampson was left with a heavily Republican district (renamed the 2nd District) and was defeated in the 2004 election.

In 2005, Lampson moved into the adjacent 22nd District to challenge DeLay. As Dallas Morning News columnist Todd J. Gillman noted on October 16, 2005: "Mr. Lampson already enjoys a toehold in the district. He represented nearly a fifth of the electorate during his four House terms."

Lampson's campaign biography says that as a child, he spent "a great deal of time" working on his grandparents' farms in Stafford, Texas -- much of which is in the 22nd District:

Nick has a long family history in Texas's 22nd congressional district. His grandparents came to this country from Italy and settled in Stafford, Texas nearly 100 years ago, where they had farms and were founding members of their church. Nick's parents grew up, met and married in Fort Bend County, and the Lampson children spent a great deal of time on their grandparents' farms working the fields and learning what it meant to be part of a community larger than themselves.

In addition, Barnes asserted that the 22nd District is a "working-class district, suburban-middle-class and working-class district that's very, very Republican." In fact, according to figures from the 2000 census, DeLay's largely Republican district had a median household income of $57,932 in 1999 -- the second highest in the state and more than $18,000 above the statewide median household income of $39,927. Nationwide, the median household income was $41,994. (The median household income in Sugar Land -- where DeLay lives -- was $81,767.)

Posted In
Government, The House of Representatives
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Fred Barnes
Show/Publication
Special Report with Brit Hume
Stories/Interests
2006 Elections
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