Lampson, Ex-Governor Ponder ’08 Senate Race

Posted May 3, 2007 at 9:32am

A campaign spokesman for Rep. Nick Lampson (D) acknowledged this week that the Congressman is considering running for Senate next year.

“He’s giving it some serious thought,” Lampson campaign spokesman Keir Murray said, adding that the Congressman likely would make his decision within the next eight weeks.

Former Gov. Mark White (D), who served from 1983 to ’87, has also been mentioned as a possible 2008 challenger to Sen. John Cornyn (R). In a brief interview this week, White, who is 67, didn’t dismiss the idea of running but indicated that a bid on his part was unlikely.

“I haven’t asked my wife about it yet. Does that tell you a lot?” White said.

In 1986, White was defeated in his bid for a second term by the governor he deposed in 1982, Republican Bill Clements. An attorney, White has been out of elected office since then.

Lampson, serving his first term in the overwhelmingly Republican 22nd district, has been approached by prominent Democrats in Texas and Washington, D.C., about challenging Cornyn, who is seeking a second term.

Some observers have speculated that Lampson’s continuing recovery from a successful heart surgery he underwent in March would discourage him from running for Senate. But the Congressman’s attendance the weekend of April 14 at a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser in San Antonio has fueled speculation that he will run.

Some Democrats have suggested that Lampson might be inclined to run for Senate because he likely will face a tough re-election battle against an ethically clean Republican. But Murray dismissed that notion, saying Lampson is confident of his re-election chances in the Houston-area 22nd.

Lampson was aided in his 2006 victory by the fact that the GOP was left without a candidate on the ballot when former Rep. Tom DeLay (R), under indictment for possible state election law violations, withdrew his name from the ballot after winning the GOP primary.

Lampson previously served four terms in a more Democratic-friendly Congressional district, before losing to now-Rep. Ted Poe (R) when his seat was eliminated in the 2003 redistricting of Texas House seats.

— David M. Drucker