TIME Magazine reports:
Rep. Tom DeLay, whose iron hold on the House Republicans melted as a lobbying corruption scandal engulfed the Capitol, told TIME that he will not seek reelection and will leave Congress within months. Taking defiant swipes at “the left” and the press, he said he feels “liberated” and vowed to pursue an aggressive speaking and organizing campaign aimed at promoting foster care, Republican candidates and a closer connection between religion and government.
UPDATE: MSNBC’s Chris Matthews spoke to Tom DeLay this evening and talked about his conversation on Scarborough Country —
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I was just on the phone Joe with U.S. Congressman Tom DeLay of Texas, fighting for reelection. He told me tonight that he’s going to withdraw from the race tomorrow. He’s not going to seek re-election. He told me the following, the reasons he gave. He thought although the polls showed him losing, going down, he thought he had a 50/50 chance of winning. He said the beating that he’s going to take between now and November would make it very hard for him to win. He thought he might be able to reverse it but it would be very had reverse the polling trend…He said he’s going to spend the rest of his career working with conservative organizations with whom he has great relationship and continue to be a leader in the conservative movement but outside Congress. That’s from the word from Tom DeLay himself, just on the phone with me.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Chris, you obviously saw the breaking new this weekend. Tony Rudy, his former of chief of staff going to jail for an unknown number of years. Others around him going to jail. Do you think this has to do with Republican politics or Tom DeLay spending his time and energy defending himself in lawsuits or in prosecutions?
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I have no doubt, Joe, it’s a fair estimate. We can assume without a lot of editorial judgment, a lot of analysis, that the bad news has accumulated through both the Abramoff case and now this, and of course his problems with Ronnie Earle down in Texas itself.
UPDATE II: DeLay out by “late May or mid-June“:
The congressman, who informed party leaders of his decision late Monday, said his departure from office would depend on the congressional schedule, but he said he expected it would be in late May or mid-June.
DeLay said he planned to move to a house he has in Virginia near Washington, D.C. By doing so, he would no longer be eligible to run for Congress in Texas.