Voila! As R. Jeffrey Smith pointed out in The Washington Post this morning, Tom DeLay's decision to bow out of the race means that he'll save big on campaign expenses. In my mind, this explanation for DeLay's decision to drop out has been underplayed. There were reports earlier this year that his defense fund was in the red - he needs money, and with the progress of the Justice Department's investigation against him, he's looking at the possibility of a federal indictment on top of his case in Texas.
The DeLay legal fund raised about $1.6 million over the last six years. Apparently, he's spent it all. So what's he going to do? At last count, his campaign had $1,295,350 in the bank, which he can soon use to get himself out of debt.
DeLay has good company in looking to use campaign money for his defense. Most recently, in fact, former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA) recently petitioned the FEC to let him do just that.
And since the commission already ruled on Cunningham's situation, DeLay wouldn't need to ask -- he could say he's in the same boat as Cunningham, according to FEC spokesman George Smaragdis. That'd be a curious admission, to be sure, so keep your eyes open.