Minutes before the filing deadline last Monday, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) declared that he would run for Senate rather than seek another term as a House Representative. The announcement sets the stage for a Republican primary challenge between Stockman and the Republican incumbent Sen. John Cornyn.”You and I are in foxhole fighting to save this constitutional Republic, but liberal John Cornyn is bayoneting us in the back,” Stockman said in a statement.
Many media outlets have noted the improbable odds of Stockman defeating Cornyn due to the Texas Representative’s extreme record and relatively small amount of campaign funds. However, should Stockman defeat Cornyn in the primary, it could make Texas’ delegation the most extreme in Congress’ upper chamber. Additionally, those in the Senate who actively worked to derail meaningful immigration reforms could gain a valuable ally.
This year, Stockman has been an outspoken member of a group within the House actively seeking to halt reforms to the immigration system. The group is led primarily by Rep. Steve King of Iowa, the anti-immigrant stalwart with a long record of incendiary rhetoric and connections to the organized anti-immigrant movement. In May, Stockman stood alongside King – and fellow Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert – in opposition to immigration reforms during a press conference. During the conference, Rep Gohmert warned that immigration reforms would cause America to “disintegrate into chaos.”
Stockman has employed similar rhetoric. In April, People for the American Way notes, Stockman claimed President Obama’s immigration advocacy further illustrates his desire to “destroy America.” In September, NumbersUSA circulated a letter Stockman wrote to Congressional colleagues urging them to support a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) opposing reform measures approved by the Senate – a cause the anti-immigrant movement has actively advocated throughout the year. So far, this cadre of anti-immigrant activists and elected officials has been successful is delaying a vote on reforms.
Stockman’s anti-immigrant record is by no means the only reason voters should be wary of his Senate bid. Mother Jones summated many examples of Stockman’s far-right extremism, and after his announcement that includes his vehement opposition to gun safety measures and support of a virulently anti-LGBT agenda.
According to campaign finance records collected by the Center for Responsive Politics, Stockman’s campaign currently has over $100,000 in debt, whereas Cornyn has close to $7 million on-hand. The disparity in finances certainly does not bode well for Stockman, but far-right organizations and PACs could quite possibly identify with Stockman’s extremist platforms and pour millions into his campaign in a fashion similar to that of Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) 2012 election.
There is little time for Stockman to raise these sorely-needed funds before Texas’ primary next March. It is also a sizaeble political gamble on Stockman’s part to risk a relatively secure House seat for a chance to join the Senate. It is a gamble Stockman has taken, though, in hopes to further advance his far-right agenda. Regardless of the Texas election’s outcome, we must oppose the divisive and extremist positions held by those like Steve Stockman.