DeLay sets June 9 resignation from U.S. Congress
WASHINGTON, May 12 (Reuters) US Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas has said he would formally resign his seat in Congress effective June 9, clearing the way for another Republican to take his spot on the November election ballot.
DeLay, the former Republican House leader and once one of the most powerful politicians in Washington, announced last month he would step down from Congress after becoming embroiled in the scandal involving lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
''I have recently made the decision to pursue new opportunities to engage in the important cultural and political battles of our day from an arena outside the US House of Representatives,'' Delay said yesterday in a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert.
DeLay said last month he would step aside to give the party a better shot at holding his House seat in Texas. Seven Republicans are vying for the right to replace DeLay in the November race against Democrat Nick Lampson.
The contenders interviewed over the weekend with local party leaders in DeLay's home district. The local leaders will pick the new candidate, probably sometime in June, in a race considered potentially one of the most competitive in the country.
REUTERS PDS PM0356