Kills Bugs Dead
Well, it looks like the Exterminator's dreams of returning to the House leadership have been squashed. He and Denny Hastert have been bending over backwards to get the House to put off elections for the top posts until he could clear himself of his Texas indictments (which, in my view, was an extremely optimistic assumption in the first place), but after a group of Republican members of Congress started a petition to hold elections for a new speaker, Tom DeLay recognized the writing on the wall. Interestingly, in his letter to House GOP, he couldn't quite bring himself to spell out his intentions, and his withdrawal from the majority leader race is implied rather than stated. Don't worry, though, he's not planning to leave the House altogether, so he can still maintain his position as poster boy for Republican Congressional corruption.
As spelled out in the Austin American-Statesman piece I linked to above, Hastert has planned to keep the House from coming back into session until the end of January to give DeLay more time to clear himself of indictment. Now that this is no long an issue, it's not clear whether Hastert will call the House back into session at a reasonable time (the Senate reconvenes on January 18) or if members of Congress will continue to take the entire month off.