DeLay is finished as majority leader:
In letters sent Saturday to fellow House Republicans and Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Mr. DeLay said he supported the call for an election of a new leader and was stepping aside to avoid becoming a political liability as Republicans face a determined Democratic challenge to their majority.
“The job of majority leader and the mandate of the Republican majority are too important to be hamstrung, even for a few months, by personal distractions,” Mr. DeLay said in the letter to Mr. Hastert, the man he personally picked to take the speaker’s job in a previous round of leadership turmoil in 1998. In his letter to the Republican conference, Mr. DeLay said he had “always acted in an ethical manner within the rules of our body and the laws of our land.”
Though his allies just hours earlier had suggested Mr. DeLay would resist moves to oust him, his aides said he came to a different conclusion on his own Saturday morning in Texas as he assessed his waning support and the potential damage to House Republicans. He then telephoned Mr. Hastert to deliver his decision, according to a House leadership aide who did not want to be identified discussing private conversations.