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DeLay spokeswoman Shannon Flaherty said he has an “advantage” over the other contestants because “he does actually dance.”

“This is a fun new challenge, not a political crusade, but we’ll still need to enlist all the help we can get to whip up the vote,” she said.

Among his 15 rivals on the show are Donnie Osmond, retired NFL player Michael Irvin and Ultimate Fighting champion Chuck Liddell.

The last season opener drew 22.5 million viewers, and interest in Mr. DeLay is high - with his name generating the most comments at ABC.com Monday.

As “susanstam” commented on the DeLay pick: “Should be interesting. Politicians can dance around almost anything!”