In a surprise move, right-wing Congressman Steve Stockman (TX-36) declined to file paperwork to run for re-election for his US House seat. Instead, Stockman opted to file his candidacy to unseat Texas GOP Senator John Cornyn. Cornyn, the Senate minority whip, and former Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, was expected to face only token opposition from a handful of little known candidates. Stockman’s surprise entry into the race puts Cornyn in a perilous position. Stockman is a hard-line conservative capable of putting Cornyn on the defensive in the state’s Republican primary.
Stockman wasted no time going on the offensive. In an e-mail fundraising appeal, he attacked Cornyn as a backstabbing liberal. The letter began as follows:
You are in a foxhole fighting to save our constitutional Republic?
?and the last thing you need is a Republican bayonet in your back.
But that’s what liberal John Cornyn has been doing to you every day.
And we have less than 90 days to stop him.
I’m conservative Congressman Steve Stockman, and I am running for United States Senate against liberal John Cornyn.
Stockman is considered a far out fringe candidate by beltway pundits and political commentators, because he is prone to inflammatory rhetoric and because he has a long and sordid history of unethical behavior. For example, Josh Kraushaar at the National Journal dismissed Stockman’s chances arguing that Cornyn has nothing to fear because:
Stockman’s record is filled with obvious landmines that would scare away even the most committed tea-party allies. As a congressman in the 1990s, he accused the Clinton administration of staging the Waco raid to promote an assault-weapons ban. Stockman supposedly managed several businesses that may not even exist. He was once caught smuggling Valium wrapped in his underwear. He currently holds more campaign debt than money in his campaign account.
However, pundits were equally dismissive when a fellow named Ted Cruz launched an improbable Senate campaign in 2012 against Republican Lt. Governor David Dewhurst. Contrary to Krausahaar’s confident assertions, we cannot assume Tea Party voters are scared away by Stockman’s ridiculous rhetoric. They have not been too frightened in the past few years to support the likes of Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Richard Mourdock, or Todd Akin, so why would they fear Stockman or any of the other radical right-wingers who have entered GOP primaries for 2014?
At least seven incumbent Republican senators are now facing significant Tea Party challenges from their right flank, and none of those senators has reason to breathe easy. Stockman’s special brand of right-wing crazy is both very dangerous and profoundly irritating. However, given that he garnered 71 percent of the vote in his Texas district in the 2012 congressional race, there is little evidence to suggest that his special brand of crazy is unappealing to GOP primary voters. John Cornyn has reason to be worried. For that matter, so do the rest of us, because Steve Stockman could very well become the next US Senator from Texas.
Edited/Published by: SB