DeLay foe looks to meet with House Dems

Richard Morrison, the little-known attorney who gave House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) a tougher-than-expected race last year, is traveling to Washington next week to meet with the Democratic congressional caucus.

Morrison announced his plans in a fundraising e-mail sent to supporters yesterday. The message announced a fundraising drive “with the goal of sending Richard back to Washington in 2006 as a Congressman!”

Morrison is looking for 100 sponsors for his trip to D.C., soliciting contributions between $10 and $100.

It’s already clear that Morrison would make ethics a big issue in a race against DeLay. His website features a slew of articles critical of DeLay’s ethics, including a March 28 Wall Street Journal editorial titled “Smells Like Beltway” that concludes: “Whether Mr. DeLay violated the small print of House Ethics or campaign-finance rules is thus largely beside the point. His real fault lies in betraying the broader set of principles that brought him into office, and which, if he continues as before, sooner or later will sweep him out.”

Morrison, an environmental and consumer rights attorney, lost to DeLay last year 55 percent to 41 percent.

A Democratic aide with the Democratic Congressional Caucus said he was not aware of any meetings with Morrison scheduled for next week. An aide to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) also did not know of plans to meet with Morrison.

It remains to be seen if House Democrats, sensing blood in the water, might push for a better-known and better-seasoned candidate to challenge DeLay. But whatever Democrat emerges to challenge DeLay, ethics will feature prominently in the race.

As The Hill has previously reported, Democratic sources say that Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emmanuel (D-Ill.) plans to make ethics the touchstone of DeLay’s race next year.

Alexander Bolton