Stockman: Human Events/Gravis poll of Texas GOP convinced me to challenge Cornyn
A Lone Star State congressman told Human Events Dec. 9 he filed with the state’s elections office to challenge Sen. John Cornyn III in the GOP primary, based on the results of Oct. 26 Human Events/Gravis poll of the state’s Republican voters.
In the poll, a generic Tea Party candidate beat Cornyn 46 percent to 33 percent and 73 percent of respondents had a favorable opinion of Sen. R. Edward Cruz (R.-Texas) approval rating compared to 46 percent approving Cornyn, said Rep. Stephen E. Stockman (R.-Texas), who represents a district outside of Houston.
“I am the generic Tea Party candidate!” said Stockman in an exclusive interview with Human Events.
“When we saw that Senator Cruz’s numbers were better than Cornyn’s by almost two-to-one, we figured all we’d have to do is find all the Cruz people and turn them out,” he said.
His own 15 percent showing makes him feel pretty good, the Michigan native said.
When Cruz opened his campaign for the 2012 Senate race, and he was at 2 percent in the polls, he said. “With the margin of error, he could have been at zero.”
Stockman said he is running against Cornyn because senator, who is the GOP’s number two leader, works against conservatives and other Republicans on Capitol Hill.
A prime example was how he stabbed conservatives in the back during the partial shutdown of the federal government in October when they were trying to save the country from Obamacare, he said.
During the shutdown, Cornyn criticized the conservatives and supported fully funding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, he said.
In July, Sen. Michael S. Lee (R.-Utah) circulated a letter among other senators addressed to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) pledging not to vote for any funding for the PPACA, he said.
Stockman said in the beginning Cornyn signed the letter and pledged his support.
“Then Karl Rove told him that Obamacare would be a loser for us, so not only did he take his name off the letter—and he bragged about this—and he convinced two other senators to take their names off the letter, too,” he said.
The congressman said the deadline for the March 24 GOP primary was Dec. 9 and he waited until 5:59 p.m., until he turned in his paperwork. “We wanted to wait and see who was in and who was out.” If no candidate secures more than 50 percent of the primary vote, there is a May 27 runoff.
In the Human Events/Gravis poll, 20 percent of the respondents said they would support Rep. Louis B. Gohmert Jr. (R.-Texas) against Cornyn, and Stockman waited to see if the former judge threw his hat in the ring, he said. “I was hoping Louis Gohmert would run.”
Running statewide in Texas is a challenge, especially the first time, but Stockman has a loyal following because of his consistent conservatism and his reputation as a giant killer.
In 1994, Stockman took on 30-year Capitol Hill veteran Jack B. Brooks, the infamous chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who hired a young Hillary Rodham to engineer the impeachment of Richard M. Nixon. Brooks’ committee voted three articles of impeachment days before Nixon resigned.
Brooks was considered an untouchable, but in 1994, he helped pass the Assault Weapons Ban, which gave Stockman the opening he needed to convince the district’s conservative voters that Brooks was not their guy. He was their guy.
Targeted by Democrats in 1996, Stockman lost reelection and was out of Congress until his 2012 election. On his first day back in Congress, Stockman voted present rather than support Speaker John A. Boehner, one of 10 GOP rebels, including Gohmert.
Capitol Hill conservatives are now speculating if Stockman will move some of his congressional staff over to the campaign. Communications director Donny Ferguson, is a master of political theater, who worked with the congressman to invite Ted Nugent to Washington as Stockman’s guest for President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. Aide John Velleco for many years led federal affairs for Gun Owners of America. Art Harman was for 30 years the man at the side of conservative legend Howard Phillips.