The Tea Party Jumps The Shark: 4 Reasons Steve Stockman Won’t Beat John Cornyn

Steve Stockman portrait

U.S. Representative Steve Stockman (R-TX) shook up the 2014 midterms on Monday night, when he made the surprising announcement that he will challenge Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) in his upcoming re-election campaign.

“Liberal John Cornyn wakes up every morning and works to make the Senate a more liberal place, That’s why I am running for the United States Senate,” Stockman said in a statement announcing his candidacy. “I have a 100 percent pro-gun, pro-life, conservative voting record in Congress.”

Despite Cornyn’s extremely conservative voting record, he is now the seventh Republican incumbent to face a challenge from the right. Although polls suggest that he could be vulnerable to a strong primary challenger, as regular This Week In Crazy readers know, Stockman is not that candidate. In fact, the extreme-right-wing congressman may finally be a candidate who’s too far on the fringe for even the Tea Party.

Indeed, unlike fellow senior Republicans Mitch McConnell or Thad Cochran , Senator Cornyn does not have much reason to fear his erratic primary challenger.

Here are four reasons that Steve Stockman will not be the next senator from Texas:

He Has A Long History Of Legal Trouble

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Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Long before he ran for Congress, Stockman was an opposition researcher’s dream . As the Houston Chronicle reported, Stockman was charged with felony drug possession in 1977. The congressman says that when he went to prison to serve a two-day sentence on a driving violation (which was not his first run-in with the law), his girlfriend hid 30mg of Valium in his pants. The charge was eventually reduced, and Stockman served probation.

A youthful run-in with the law does not automatically disqualify a candidate from higher office, but it could be a bigger issue for Stockman given that he hopes to run as a social conservative — and given that he is still having legal problems over three decades later.

As the Houston Chronicle reported in November, Stockman “has failed repeatedly to disclose business affiliations that stretch from Texas to the British Virgin Islands on his congressional financial disclosure forms.” Additionally, Stockman fired two staffers in October for making $15,000 in illegal contributions to his re-election campaign, and several weeks later city officials shut down his campaign headquarters in Webster, Texas for 14 fire code violations, among other safety issues.

He Says Crazy Things

Steve Stockman3

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Until he announced his challenge to Cornyn, Stockman was best known as the most outrageous, unstable member of a caucus that could be most charitably described as “eccentric.”

Among many other startling statements, Stockman has said:

—The Waco seige was actually a false flag operation to allow Bill Clinton to ban assault weapons.

—” If babies had guns they wouldn’t be aborted.

—” The best thing about the Earth is if you poke holes in it, oil and gas come out.

—-The Boston Marathon bomber “ thought he could escape in [a] backyard boat after hearing Gore speak on global warming.

—After the Newtown massacre, “President Obama and his anti-gun pals believe the timing has never been better to ram through the U.N.’s global gun control crown jewel.

If nothing else, however, Stockman’s long list of bizarre, paranoid statements help to explain his decision to announce his candidacy to the right-wing conspiracy-repository, WorldNetDaily.

He Supports Crazy Policies

Steve Stockman2

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Stockman’s actual policy positions are almost as far out as his rhetoric. Stockman, whom Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy once perfectly described as “the closest his state ever came to electing a gun,” believes that America should completely eliminate background checks, waiting periods, and registration for firearms. This is far outside of the mainstream, even in Texas . The congressman’s overzealous defense of the Second Amendment also led him to threaten to impeach President Obama for issuing executive orders pertaining to guns in the wake of the Newtown massacre. Stockman also periodically introduces gun bills that are more puzzling than extreme, such as the “ Student Protection Act ,” which would prohibit schools from suspending students for playing with toy guns.

Stockman was also a strong supporter of the incredibly unpopular government shutdown (although its negative effects led him to rage that “ Democrats are curb-stomping veterans “). The shutdown was actually the incident that drew Stockman into the race; he claims he was compelled to run when “liberal John Cornyn betrayed Ted Cruz and worked with Harry Reid to fund Obamacare.” This is an odd campaign tactic, considering that — although Texans still love Cruz — a strong majority disapproved of the shutdown strategy.

He Doesn’t Have Any Money

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Photo: “kaje_yomama” via Flickr

Perhaps because the factors above make it hard for donors to take him seriously, Stockman is entering the campaign at a tremendous financial disadvantage. Stockman has just $32,000 in cash on hand, less than 5 percent of Cornyn’s $7 million war chest. Worse yet, Stockman also has $163,000 in debt.

Cornyn, a former chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, can also rely on deep establishment support. Stockman will try to rally the right-wing base to his cause, but that will be an uphill battle too. He has already been rebuffed by the Club for Growth, which has announced that it will not support his primary challenge.


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