Unseated from Congress after one term in 1996 and beaten in his last race for office in 1998, conservative stalwart Steve Stockman staged a stunning comeback Tuesday night by winning the Republican nomination for Congress from Texasâ??s newly carved 36th District. By a margin of 52 to 48 percent, the 55-year-old Stockman defeated financial planner Stephen Takach in the run-off for the GOP nomination that is tantamount to election in the Houston-area district.
The Texas Monthly and other news outlets called the race for Stockman, although his lead over Takach was less than 2,000 votes and some voters in Harris (Houston) and Chambers Counties remained to be counted.
â??I was 100 percent with the American Conservative Union when I was in Congress and I would have been 120 if they had a rating that high,â? Stockman told Human Events shortly after he placed a close second to Takach in the dozen-candidate primary in May. Largely because of his record and contacts within the national conservative movement, the former congressman had strong backing from Gun Owners of America, Citizens United and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas).
But born-again Christian Stockman also ran an â??under the radar campaign.â? Eschewing public appearances, interviews, and candidate forums, he concentrated on turning out committed followers among the tea party movement and evangelical churches in the Houston area. A Stockman-crafted tabloid that looked very much like a regular newspaper spread his message to known supporters.
First-time candidate Takach agreed with Stockman on virtually every issue — strongly pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, against amnesty for illegal immigrants, and for immediate repeal of Obamacare. He also spent nearly four times as much in the race as Stockman (or about $450,000, much of this from Takachâ??s own wallet). But because he lacked a history of involvement in local politics or among the tea party or churches, the 50-year-old Takach was never able to overcome his opponentâ??s hard-core following.
In the closing days of the race, Takach may have committed a major error when one of his mailings criticized Stockman for declaring bankruptcy in 2002. Stockman hit back hard, recalling that he quit working and was forced to declare bankruptcy as the full-time caregiver for his father during his battle with Alzheimerâ??s disease.
â??Takach smears Stockman for taking care of his Alzheimer’s-stricken father,” blared the headline of Stockmanâ??s tabloid, The Times Free Press.
In 2005, Human Events reported how Stockman had a most intriguing meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria with Simeon Saxe Coburg-Gotha — once the â??boy kingâ? of his country as King Simeon II, deposed by the Communists after World War II, and returned to power with his election to prime minister, from 2001-05.
Steve Stockmanâ??s return to Congress after 16 years is not as romantic or dramatic as that of his Bulgarian friend. But for the onetime homeless person, accountant, and defeated politician, the results of Tuesday’s vote are pretty dramatic.