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DeLay says he will resign

By Wire services
Published April 4, 2006

WASHINGTON - Rep. Tom DeLay told Time magazine that he will leave Congress and not seek re-election.

DeLay, 58, told the magazine Monday night, "I'm going to announce tomorrow that I'm not running for reelection and that I'm going to leave Congress. I'm very much at peace with it."

He said he had notified President Bush in the afternoon.

"This had become a referendum on me," he said. "So it's better for me to step aside and let it be a referendum on ideas, Republican values and what's important for this district."

In an interview with the Galveston County Daily News in Texas, DeLay said his decision was based partly on troubling internal polling results, including a poll taken after the March Republican primary that showed DeLay beating Democrat Nick Lampson in a close race.

"Even though I thought I could win, it was a little too risky," DeLay said.

DeLay stepped down from his House majority leader post in January as an election-year corruption scandal staggered Republicans and emboldened Democrats looking to reclaim power in the House and Senate.

A former exterminator before his election to Congress in 1984, DeLay was indicted by a Texas grand jury on charges related to laundering campaign funds in a Republican bid to win control of the Texas legislature in the 2002 elections.

He is accused of funneling corporate donations to Republican candidates for the Texas House in violation of state laws. A federal investigation also is pursuing DeLay's ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

DeLay has denied any wrongdoing in both cases. But DeLay's woes continued to build over the past week.

On Friday, DeLay's former chief of staff pleaded guilty to conspiracy and promised to help with a federal investigation of bribery and lobbying fraud relating to Abramoff.

Tony Rudy admitted conspiring with Abramoff - both while Rudy worked for the Texas congressman and after he left the lawmaker's staff to become a lobbyist himself.

Just days before Rudy's plea, Abramoff was sentenced to nearly six years in prison for fraud in connection with a separate case, a casino boat business deal. He was allowed to remain free while helping the congressional corruption investigation in Washington.

--Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

[Last modified April 4, 2006, 03:15:07]

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