Representative Steve Stockman, the Houston-area congressman famous for bringing Ted Nugent to the State of the Union and wanting to arm fetuses, was not the Tea Party's first choice to run in the GOP primary against Senator John Cornyn. That honor belongs to Representative Louie Gohmert. Next on their list was noted pseudo-historian and homophobe David Barton. Both men, perhaps sensing that Cornyn's $7 million campaign war chest and extremely conservative record made victory unlikely, politely declined.
Stockman, probably the wackiest of the three, wasn't even part of the conversation, at least not until Monday night when, minutes before the filing deadline, he declared his candidacy.
True to form, he gave his first interview to the conspiracy-minded World Net Daily.
"We are extremely disappointed in the way [Cornyn] treated his fellow congressmen and broke the 11th commandment and undermined Ted Cruz's fight to stop Obamacare," he told the conservative news site, adding that "he needs to be held accountable for his decisions."
That's a critique that's been lobbed at Cornyn's frequently from the right and the reason Texas' senior senator currently has a target on his back. But aside from a quote in the WND piece from Tea Party Patriots president co-founder Jenny Beth Martin, describing Stockman as a "proven ... fighter for freedom," there hasn't been a rush to embrace his candidacy like there was for Gohmert or Barton, much less Ted Cruz.
The Senate Conservatives Fund, the group founded to unseat establishment candidates, declined to immediately endorse Stockman on Monday night, even though it continues to paste Cornyn as a moderate, tax-hiking "turncoat." Same with the Madison Project.
The Club for Growth declined to get involved in the race at all.
Maybe Stockman is too extreme. He certainly was in the mid-'90s, when he was voted out of the House of Representatives after a single term for, among other things, opining that the government's 1995 siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco was staged to gin up support for an assault weapons ban and saying Attorney General Janet Reno was guilty of "premeditated murder."
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The Daily Kos has a pretty thorough rundown of Stockman's behavior since, including comparing Obama to Saddam Hussein, a letter equating premarital sex and homosexuality to bestiality, and a denouncement of the Violence Against Woman Act for including protection for transgender individuals.
None of that will prevent Stockman from drumming up some grassroots support, but it will be less because of who he is than that he's a conservative alternative to Cornyn. Some political watchers are already voicing doubt that he'll gain enough momentum or cash to be a serious threat.
It should at least be a thoroughly entertaining ride.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.