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Wallace Nears Verdict on Running in 22nd

Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace (R) has decided against running for re-election next year, fueling speculation that he instead will run for the Republican nomination in the 22nd district and the right to challenge Rep. Nick Lampson (D) in 2008.

In an interview late last week, Wallace said he expected to announce his 2008 intentions within the next 60 days, and sounded very much like he plans to throw his hat into the ring.

“I feel I could do a good job in representing the people of the 22nd district,” Wallace said.

In the category of potential candidates unlikely to run is longtime Channel 11 sports anchor Gifford Nielsen, a former Houston Oilers quarterback.

Nielsen admitted to thinking about running for Congress on occasion, but said he is happy in his job and giving virtually no consideration to a 2008 run in the 22nd district.

“I can’t say I haven’t thought about it, but I have never pursued it,” Nielsen said late last week when reached on his cell phone.

Nielsen has been a television sports reporter in Houston for 23 years, which could serve as a plus in the name identification department if he ever did run for office.

In addition to Wallace, the Republicans giving a run serious thought include Harris County Tax Assessor and Collector Paul Bettencourt. Former Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs (R), who served out the remainder of former Rep. Tom DeLay’s term after winning a special election in November, already has announced she’ll run.

Sekula-Gibbs, a write-in candidate on the regular ballot in November, lost her bid for a full term in the current Congress to Lampson. The 22nd district leans Republican and is expected to be heavily contested by both parties next year.

— David M. Drucker

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