Sen. John Cornyn said that Rep. Steve Stockman, his latest primary challenger, “wasn’t on my radar screen.”
“I don’t think he’s particularly well-known across the state of Texas. It’s a big state, and I’m not going to focus on any particular candidate. I’m going to pay all of them equal attention,” Cornyn told reporters outside of his Capitol office Tuesday.
Stockman’s surprise challenge of the No. 2 Republican in the Senate brings the total number of candidates running in the Republican primary to seven, although the Stockman-Cornyn matchup will likely garner the most national attention as another example of a Senate Republican stalwart facing a challenge from the right.
“Each one of them is a different story,” Cornyn said. “[Stockman] obviously was going to be looking at a difficult race in his own congressional seat, so he decided to try something different.”
Stockman, a conservative firebrand known for his active Twitter feed, has a long way to go in his race. Stockman has about $32,000 cash-on-hand; Cornyn has nearly $7 million. And the Club for Growth, which backed now-Sen. Ted Cruz’s challenge against the party favorite, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, is staying out of the Texas primary.
“Sen. Cruz was unique in many ways because of his talents and the quality of race he ran and the timing,” Cornyn said. “I think one race is not a trend set, but obviously there are lessons to be learned from that. And believe me, I’ve learned them.”