GOP Boondoggle in Texas District 22

A glorious update to an earlier story on District 22. According to a ruling by U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks, either incumbent Tom DeLay must agree to run for the office from which he retired last month, or the Republican Party will have no congressional candidate to run against Democrat Nick Lampson and Libertarian Bob Smither in November:

“Tom DeLay is not ineligible to be the Republican Party nominee for the United States House of Representatives from Texas District 22,” Judge Sparks said in his ruling. “…any previous declaration of ineligibility made by Benkiser is void.”
DeLay had announced in April that he intended to resign from Congress, which he did June 9. A day earlier, Benkiser declared him ineligible to appear on the November ballot, based on documents showing he’d become a Virginia resident.
In his analysis of the case, Judge Sparks said, “After the smoke clears, it appears the real issue in this case is whether the Republican Party can avoid DeLay’s de facto withdrawal from the race by declaring him ineligible for the general election in order to replace him with another Republican candidate on the general election ballot.
“Under these circumstances, it seems clear the Texas election laws would prohibit such a replacement after the primary election if the winning candidate withdrew from the general election.”

Oh please oh please oh please let Tom DeLay have half a brain and drop from the race on his own… the GOP would have little choice than to bite the bullet and throw their remaining support behind Libertarian candidate Bob Smither (someone jump onto his web team, stat).
Update: Political Wire has more reactions… notably absent is the backlash against Democrats if they succeed. Which I still contend is a winner for a third party candidate, even if it weren’t one of ours.