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Delay's Critic May Become Perry's Opponent

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A stinging criticism came Sunday night from one of House Majority Leader Tom Delay's biggest critics.

Former US Congressman Chris Bell was in College Station Sunday night. He's the man who filed the House ethics complaint against Delay, which was the first filed in the House in seven years. Bell says Delay's problems are to the democrats' benefit.

"I very much want to see Tom Delay continue as majority leader," Bell said. "I'd very much like to see him run for Speaker of the House, or perhaps even President of the United States. I would like for it to be wall-to-wall Tom Delay because I think he really stands for everything that's wrong with the Republican Party."

Bell delivered the keynote address at the Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson Day Banquet Sunday. He was one of the Texas democrats who lost in the 2004 elections, defeats the party partially blames on redistricting. Bell served just one two-year term, but was considered a rising star by his party.

Delay has faced numerous accusations over the course of his tenure as majority leader. He has been accused of breaking House travel rules. More recently, the payment of his wife and daughter through his political action and campaign committees has been scrutinized. While family members can be employed by the campaign, critics call the payments unusually large.

Also, three Delay associates have been indicted on state charges concerning the redistricting. Chet Edwards, District 17's representative, was the only sitting democrat to survive in the state.

Bell now could be Governor Rick Perry's opponent. He said he is 70 percent sure he'll run for his party's nomination for governor. Officials close to Bell say no one else in the party is likely to step forward.

Bell said he would focus a good portion of his campaign on education issues, which have been the focal point of the current legislative session in Austin.

Information from CBS News and Associated Press reports was used in this article.