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Lampson not running for Senate

I had been aware for quite some time now that Rep. Nick Lampson was strongly considering a run for the Senate next year instead of a re-election bid in CD22, so this comes as a surprise to me.

Mustafa Tameez of Houston, a political consultant to Lampson, said this morning that Lampson, the Democrat who last year captured the U.S. House seat vacated by Tom DeLay of Sugar Land, intends to seek re-election instead–fully knowing that his district historically leans Republican.

A Senate bid is “not going to happen,” Tameez said. “It sounds goofy, but he feels like he made a commitment to the people of Congressional District 22.” Tameez said Lampson feels a Senate try would be “disingenuous.”

Tameez aired Lampson’s decision to stamp out speculation regarding a Senate bid. “We just want it to stop,” he said (unwittingly the desire of some observers of this legislative session).

To see what speculation, peek here and here. Lampson has also fielded criticism for possibly abandoning the district for the uncertainty of a Cornyn challenge.

Assuming Lampson’s decision holds, that leaves former State Comptroller John Sharp, state Rep. Rick Noriega of Houston and Mikal Watts, a San Antonio trial lawyer, as confirmed Democratic prospects to tackle Cornyn, who’ll be seeking his second six-year term. Their ambitions could shake out soon.

Lampson’s constituents, as well as one of the critics of his purported Senate bid are happy at the news. As, I must say, am I. I like Nick Lampson a lot, and I’d have been happy to support him for Senate if he were the Democratic candidate. But he was not my first choice for that candidacy – Rick Noriega is. Having Lampson run for Senate would have meant punting CD22, and might have meant the best candidate to take on John Cornyn (in my opinion, of course) would not have been on the ballot. This represents the best of both worlds – Lampson running as an incumbent is the only Democrat who can hold CD22 – it won’t be easy by any stretch, but it is at least doable – and we can maybe get some new and exciting blood at the top of the ticket. All things considered, I couldn’t ask for more.

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