Spotlight

Who’s Afraid of Steve Stockman?

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 14: U.S. Senate Minority Whip Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) walks through the Capitol Building on October 14, 2013 in Washington, DC. As Democratic and Republican leaders negotiate an end to the shutdown and a way to raise the debt limit, the White House postponed a planned Monday afternoon meeting with Boehner and other Congressional leaders. The government shutdown is currently in its 14th day. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
National Journal
Steven Shepard
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Steven Shepard
Jan. 10, 2014, 6:50 a.m.

It’s no secret that we haven’t con­sidered Rep. Steve Stock­man (R) to be a ser­i­ous threat to Sen. John Cornyn (R) in their March 4 Lone Star State Sen­ate primary. The reas­ons are as much struc­tur­al as they are Texas-spe­cif­ic: For all the ink spilled over con­gres­sion­al primar­ies (and Texas, spe­cific­ally, on A1 of the Wash­ing­ton Post this past Sunday), schol­ar­ship shows they aren’t more com­mon (or more suc­cess­ful) now than in re­cent dec­ades. And Stock­man doesn’t fit the pro­file of a suc­cess­ful chal­lenger.

— Re­cent de­vel­op­ments — an anti-Stock­man TV ad launched this week by a pro-Cornyn su­per PAC and a new TV ad out Fri­day from Cornyn’s camp — would seem to in­dic­ate that the in­cum­bent is tak­ing the threat more ser­i­ously. But with just 7 weeks un­til the primary, these moves seem more due di­li­gence than pan­ic but­ton. Team Cornyn has been pre­par­ing for a primary chal­lenger (one more cred­ible than Stock­man) for two years, as evid­enced by his nearly-$7 mil­lion bank ac­count at the end of the third quarter. And without a ser­i­ous Demo­crat in the race, not spend­ing in the primary would be mal­prac­tice.

— Clark Uni­versity pro­fess­or Robert Boat­right ex­amined the past 40 years of con­gres­sion­al primar­ies in his 2013 book “Get­ting Primar­ied: The Chan­ging Polit­ics of Con­gres­sion­al Primary Chal­lenges,” find­ing that they aren’t more com­mon now; their fre­quency waxes and wanes with over­all polit­ic­al po­lar­iz­a­tion. There’s more out­side money than ever boost­ing primary chal­lengers, but that cuts both ways: In­cum­bent-aligned su­per PACs are pop­ping up, too, like the Mc­Con­nell-back­ing Ken­tucki­ans for Strong Lead­er­ship and the Cornyn-aligned Tex­ans for a Con­ser­vat­ive Ma­jor­ity.

— Texas is just the first primary on the cal­en­dar in 2014. Hot­line seni­or Sen­ate ana­lyst Ju­lie So­bel took a look at the top Sen­ate primar­ies at the end of last year, rank­ing Sen. Thad Co­chran (R-MS) as the most vul­ner­able to los­ing re­nom­in­a­tion. Mis­sis­sippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) has the sup­port of key out­side groups (Stock­man does not). Bey­ond Mis­sis­sippi, which some auto­mated sur­veys show might be a coin-flip, the in­cum­bent is favored in each of the oth­er “com­pet­it­ive” Sen­ate primar­ies. (Wyom­ing has since dropped off the map al­to­geth­er.) We’d set the over/un­der on Sen­ate in­cum­bents los­ing re­nom­in­a­tion at 0.5.

We spend a lot of time on Sen­ate primar­ies, but few Sen­ate in­cum­bents ac­tu­ally end up los­ing. Just be­cause John Cornyn is step­ping up his cam­paign doesn’t mean he’s any closer to be­com­ing the next Dick Lugar or Bob Ben­nett.

What We're Following See More »
TURNING OVER 3,000 RUSSIAN ADS
Facebook to Cooperate with Congress
3 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
CALLS HIM A “FRIEND OF MINE”
Trump Praises Erdogan
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS
INFORMS CONGRESS RE: EXECUTIVE ORDER
Trump Makes Good on Promise of New North Korea Sanctions
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

President Trump this afternoon announced another round of sanctions on North Korea, calling the regime "a continuing threat." The executive order, which Trump relayed to Congress, bans any ship or plane that has visited North Korea from visiting the United States within 180 days. The order also authorizes sanctions on any financial institution doing business with North Korea, and permits the secretaries of State and the Treasury to sanction any person involved in trading with North Korea, operating a port there, or involved in a variety of industries there.

SUED FOR SIMILAR DESIGN
Ivanka to Court Over $785 Sandals
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS
DOESN’T KNOW WHEN
Trump Says He’ll Visit Puerto Rico
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Seated next to Ukrainian President Poroshenko on his final day of meetings at the United Nations, Trump did not say when he might go to Puerto Rico, but spoke solemnly about the destruction to an island he said had been 'absolutely obliterated.'”

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login