Ex-Aide Wounded in Cult Inquiry Wins House Seat in California

SACRAMENTO (AP) — Jackie Speier, who as a Congressional aide nearly 30 years ago was shot and left for dead on a Guyana airstrip, won a special election Tuesday for the House seat once held by her former boss.

A former California state lawmaker, Ms. Speier had nearly 78 percent of the vote with 71 percent of the precincts reporting in a five-way race.

The district had been represented for the last 27 years by Representative Tom Lantos, a Democrat who died in February.

Ms. Speier’s former boss, Representative Leo J. Ryan, was killed in on Nov. 18, 1978, on a fact-finding trip looking into the cult led by Jim Jones. Ms. Speier was seriously wounded. More than 900 cult members committed suicide or were slain.

She lost a special election to succeed Mr. Ryan but has represented much of the area as a San Mateo County supervisor, assemblywoman and state senator.

In a runoff in the Houston area for the Republican nomination for Tom DeLay’s old Congressional seat, Pete Olson, a former Senate aide defeated a former city councilwoman, Shelley Sekula Gibbs. Mr. Olson, a favorite of Republicans like his former boss Senator John Cornyn, had 68 percent of the vote to Ms. Sekula Gibbs’s 31 percent in complete but unofficial returns.

He will run against Representative Nick Lampson, a Democrat in his first term, in the traditionally Republican district.

In the race to replace the Harris County district attorney, who resigned amid controversy, Pat Lykos, a former police officer and judge defeated Kelly Siegler, a flamboyant prosecutor, for the Republican nomination. Mr. Lykos had 53 percent of the vote to 47 percent for Ms. Siegler.

The Democratic nominee is Clarence Bradford, a former Houston police chief.

The former district attorney, Charles A. Rosenthal Jr., quit after he admitted in federal court that he had deleted up to 3,500 personal e-mail messages in violation of two subpoenas and a court order and that in sworn testimony he had given false information on how he came to delete some of them. Hundreds of Mr. Rosenthal’s other e-mail messages included endearments to his executive secretary, sexual and racist jokes and pornographic videos.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday April 9, 2008.
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