Some GOPers Passing on Lampson Challenge

Posted June 7, 2007 at 1:48pm

A top Republican prospect for the race to take on Rep. Nick Lampson (D) has decided not to run, and another leading GOP recruit also is close to taking a pass on the 22nd district race.

Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace (R) announced last week that he was dropping out of politics altogether — at least temporarily — to focus on his new real estate business.

“While [being a Member of Congress] is a position in which I am confident I could serve the constituency well, this is not the most favorable time for me to launch a campaign of this magnitude and to devote the ongoing time required in this important position,” Wallace said in a statement.

Wallace, a protégé of former 22nd district Rep. Tom DeLay (R), was seen by Republicans eager to oust Lampson in the GOP-leaning Houston-area district, as a potentially formidable contender. Another top GOP prospect, Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt (R), also is likely to forgo the race for family reasons, according to the Houston Chronicle.

That leaves former Rep. Shelley Sekula-Gibbs (R), who served the final six weeks of DeLay’s term last year, as the only declared GOP candidate. Former Sugar Land Mayor Dean Hrbacek (R) has formed an exploratory committee. Several state legislators also are mentioned as possible candidates, though state Rep. Robert Talton (R) is seen as the likeliest to run, particularly if Bettencourt doesn’t.

— Josh Kurtz