They figured they were going out with a flourish. No way. Republicans face more trouble, scrutiny.
The highly publicized case of Mr. Foley, who served in the House leadership as a deputy whip, threatened to build into an institutional scandal as House leaders acknowledged that they had known about the messages for nearly a year, but had relied on Mr. Foley’s word that nothing inappropriate had occurred.
But that was not all. Republicans were unable to win final approval of a bill to regulate domestic wiretapping, which Democrats feared would become a political weapon more potent than the bill governing terrorism suspects. The disclosure of a National Intelligence Estimate saying the war in Iraq was fueling terrorism called attention to the issue Democrats most want to campaign on — discontent with the administration’s handling of the war. A new book by Bob Woodward did the same, claiming that the administration had ignored high-level warnings that it would need more troops.
And Republicans wrapped up the way they started the year, with new revelations about Jack Abramoff, the disgraced lobbyist whose guilty plea on Jan. 3 roiled the party and set off the events that led to the resignation of Representative Tom DeLay, a powerful party force. “It was not a graceful exit,” said Representative Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, as events swirled on Friday.
Republicans were clearly rocked by the Foley episode. It gave Democrats, who need 15 seats to gain a majority, a new opening to pick up a seat in a Republican-leaning district. Florida Republicans were to meet to choose a replacement for Mr. Foley, but his name will remain on the ballot against a well-financed opponent.