I just heard an NPR reporter state that, now that U.S. Representative Tom DeLay has announced he will resign his seat, Texas Governor Rick Perry can either appoint someone to fill the seat or leave it vacant until the fall election. Which is interesting, but wrong. Governors can appoint someone to fill a vacant seat in the U.S. Senate, but House seats must be filled by an election. The Governor can call for a special election, or leave it vacant until the next regular election. DeLay hasn't actually announced when he'll step down, but assuming it's in the next couple of weeks, that means the seat would be vacant for more than six months. I can't imagine that Perry won't call for a special election, but stranger things have happened.
By the way, I don't believe for a minute that we've heard the whole
story as to why DeLay decided to resign. I believe him (first time
that's ever happened) when he says he was worried that he would lose,
but the idea that he was concerned that the campaign would be "nasty and
personal" is laughable. "Nasty and personal campaigning" is Tom DeLay's
middle name. There's another shoe up there somewhere, probably one
related to him being identified as "Representative #2" in the
Scanlon Tony Rudy indictment. I think we're going to see a Federal indictment
against DeLay in the near future.