‘Liberal John Cornyn’ Held the Second-Most Conservative Senate Voting Record in 2012

Rep. Steve Stockman is slamming his opponent in the Texas Republican Senate primary as a liberal. That’s a bit of a stretch.

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
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Matt Berman
Dec. 10, 2013, 10:47 a.m.

“Dear pat­ri­ot,” be­gins one of the first missives from Rep. Steve Stock­man, the newly an­nounced Re­pub­lic­an Sen­ate can­did­ate in Texas. “You are in a fox­hole fight­ing to save our con­sti­tu­tion­al Re­pub­lic … and the last thing you need is a Re­pub­lic­an bay­on­et in your back. But that’s what lib­er­al John Cornyn has been do­ing to you every day.”

The thing is, “lib­er­al John Cornyn” ac­tu­ally had the second-most con­ser­vat­ive vot­ing re­cord in the Sen­ate in 2012, ac­cord­ing to Na­tion­al Journ­al‘s vote rat­ings. His 93.8 com­pos­ite con­ser­vat­ive score beat out the likes of then-Sen. Jim De­Mint, who now leads the ul­tracon­ser­vat­ive Her­it­age Found­a­tion.

In his re­lease, Stock­man touts his “per­fect 100% life­time con­ser­vat­ive rat­ing.” We’re not sure of this par­tic­u­lar rat­ing sys­tem, but the num­ber the­or­et­ic­ally would beat out Cornyn’s 93.8 score — but not by all that much.

Stock­man’s ar­gu­ment for chal­len­ging Cornyn hinges on the idea that Cornyn is a com­mit­ted man of the Left. The phrase “lib­er­al John Cornyn” ap­pears 20 times in his Tues­day let­ter ask­ing for sup­port. “John Cornyn wakes up every morn­ing and works to make the Sen­ate a more lib­er­al place,” he writes, un­der­lin­ing the sen­tence for em­phas­is.

While it’s dif­fi­cult to see how any­one could ob­ject­ively be­lieve that, Stock­man’s 2014 cam­paign strategy seems im­me­di­ately ob­vi­ous: Tie Cornyn to lib­er­al­ism un­til it be­comes true — at least in the minds of Texas Re­pub­lic­an primary voters.