Trouble in Texas: Cornyn Draws a Primary Challenger

Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate Republican, draws a last-minute Tea Party challenger

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Evan Vucci / AP

Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, second from right, participates in a mock swearing-in ceremony with Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, for the 113th Congress in Washington, Jan. 3, 2013.

John Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate Republican, hoped he could make it through the primary season without drawing a challenger. Late Monday, with just 15 minutes to go before the filing deadline, those hopes were dashed when Rep. Steve Stockman, a firebrand conservative from outside Houston withdrew his papers to run for reelection in Congress and filed to challenge Cornyn instead.

Stockman previously served in Congress in 1994, where he was best known for criticizing the government for “executing” members of the Branch Davidians outside Waco. Since his return to Capitol Hill this year, he’s made waves calling for President Barack Obama’s impeachment and bringing Ted Nugent as his guest to the State of the Union. On Tuesday he launched a campaign Twitter feed, billed as the “Official campaign account of the most conservative Congressman in Texas! 100% lifetime NRA, GOA, NAGR, Right to Life rating.”

Stockman has an uphill battle ahead of him. The primary is in the first week of March and Cornyn has raised more than $10 million to defend his seat. By comparison Stockman has raised a total of just $250,000 over his entire career, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

That said, Ted Cruz won a surprising upstart primary for his Texas Senate seat in 2012, beating Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, the establishment candidate who had the endorsement of Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Perry this time around has already endorsed Cornyn. Notably, Cruz has not endorsed Cornyn, even though Cruz was named vice chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which works to elect Republicans to the Senate. Cornyn led the NRSC in 2010 and 2012.

(MORE: 2014 GOP primary war widens)

Outside groups have also held off endorsing, and many are now giving Stockman the once over.  “We haven’t decided yet whether we will endorse anyone in this race, but we’re going to watch it closely,” said Matt Hoskins, executive director of the Senate Conservatives Fund. “Texas deserves two conservative fighters in the Senate, not just one. John Cornyn has voted to increase the debt, raise taxes, bail out Wall Street banks, and fund Obamacare. He’s part of the problem in Washington and Texas Republicans deserve better.”

After Tea Party primaries wrecked GOP plans to take back the Senate in 2010 and 2012, Republican leaders this cycle swore the party would show more unity and less chaos. And yet Cornyn now joins Senate Minority Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Mississippi’s Thad Cochran, Wyoming’s Mike Enzi, and maybe still South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, Kansas’s Pat Roberts, and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee in facing aggressive primary fights next year.

8 comments
SteveOglesby
SteveOglesby

Am I missing something? Stockman wasn't the first challenger to enter the race, he was the last.

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

Thanks, Jay. We know that sometimes Tea Party primary challengers win, like Christine O'Donnell. But for next year, what happens to those TP'ers who lose? Are they going to go independent (though betting another challenger would be needed if sore loser laws kick in), or just quietly fall back into line and vote for the RINO anyway? If they really want to knock out the RINO, run third party in the general and split the votes ensuring establishment R defeat. Otherwise, why bother with the noisy protest if it's not going to guarantee success?

sacredh
sacredh

Stockman puts the red  back in redneck. He took a draft-dodger that crapped in his pants to avoid military service to the State of the Union address. Seriously Texas, get your sh!t together.

mydads1st
mydads1st

Republican should be very wary of Stockman. Under investigation, instigator and invited the Obama clown to the rodeo. Stockman is the laugh-a-second clown of the TEA-party! Here the perfect chance for Republicans to assert themselves and require TEA-types like Steve Stockman from Friendswood, Texas. Steve Stockman from Friendswood, Texas is being investigated and is all over the news lately about misdeeds, money laundering and other failures, but he decides to challenge John Cornyn. An openly blatant TEA-type, he would challenge to change topics, even as he is being brought to task over improprieties.( http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/us/article/Stockman-s-filings-don-t-explain-his-income-5006941.php#/0 )

( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/24/steve-stockman-finances_n_4334786.html )
( http://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/steve-stockman-s-mystery-350-000-exposed )
( http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com/2013/11/republicans-claim-steve-stockman-hasnt.html )
Texas already has a name across the nation with Rafael Eduardo Cruz, now Stockman will run for Cornyn's seat. TEA-types use the crimson (R) when running, when they should use their own scarlet (T)! It will take boots-on-the-ground, grass-roots effort to get this done. Do not sit at home and allow others to make your decisions for you. Get involved locally and at the state level. It is more important now than ever! If you are not happy with the way your congress person is working - Fire him/her! Sweep the Senate clean in 2014! Sweep the House clean in 2014! Remove the TEA-types and Republicans who have been shutting down programs beneficial to the public. Not voting is like voting for the opposition! V.O.T.E.(Vote Out The Encumberance)

Irony
Irony

It's so cute when they eat their own.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

And the race to the bottom of the crazy heap continues.

jmac
jmac

Everybody and their mother is running in Texas.   But here's the big news - "State criminal appeals court judge Larry Meyers has become the first Republican to switch parties and run statewide as a Democrat in 15 years."


When judges start switching, the state is on the cusp of switching.   Almost every  judge is a Republican in Texas, just as some of  those same judges were all Democrats in previous years.   

stover.p919
stover.p919

I love the Republican Party but I no longer love Republicans. I like my men tall and strong, like my home state of Texas. These spoiled little boys that we women see today, stamping their feet and tarring the reputations of others, using cheap tricks and lies to obtain their political objectives, are not the proud and decent men that we Texans once knew. . . They are now only a party of buffoons and losers about to be tossed forever on the 'ass-heap of history'.