Tag Archives: Steve Stockman

Entering crucial stage of midterm campaign

I’ve seen this kind of thing happen before. A “wave election” occurs when the least likely incumbent takes a fall, signaling a dramatic change in fortunes for the halls of Congress.

In 1994, I had a ringside seat for one of those events. Longtime Democratic U.S. Rep. Jack Brooks of Beaumont represented one of Texas’s last Democratic bastions in the Golden Triangle. He’d been in Congress for more than four decades. His foe that year was a guy who came out of nowhere.

Steve Stockman shocked the political world by beating the late “Sweet Ol’ Brooks” to take his House seat as part of the Contract With America GOP delegation.

I figured at the time if Brooks was to lose, the entire House was going to flip. Sure enough. He did. The House did flip.

Stockman lasted one term before being defeated for re-election in 1996. He was elected again much later, but then lost again after another single term. He’s now facing prison time for fraud.

Fast-forward to the present day. Texas’s U.S. Senate seat is in play. Democrat Beto O’Rourke is trying to unseat Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in a state that is as Republican as it gets.

The way I figure it today, if somehow O’Rourke manages to pull off what looks like the Upset of the Ages, then the U.S. Senate stands a good chance of flipping from Republican to Democratic control.

It’s a steep hill for the El Paso congressman. He trails the Cruz Missile. But not by much. I see polls that swing from 2 points to 8 points. Cruz should — by standard political measures — be way up. He’s not.

O’Rourke well might lose on Nov. 6. I don’t want him or his allies to claim some sort of “moral victory” by making it close. A loss is a loss. For my money, Cruz needs to lose. He might represent a lot of Texans’ values. He doesn’t represent mine.

If the Cruz Missile gets blown out of the sky, then I am betting that the entire Senate turns over.

Believe me, stranger things have happened — just as it did in the Golden Triangle all those years ago.

Former Rep. Stockman convicted … who’s next?

Steve Stockman served two highly undistinguished non-consecutive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.

He was a top-drawer goofball who was elected the first time in 1994 because he happened to be a Republican in the year of the GOP sweep of Congress.

He returned to Congress in 2013 and then ran for another office after serving another chaotic term in the House.

He’s now likely is headed to prison after being convicted on 23 counts that he spent charitable donations fraudulently for personal gain.

An editorial in the Beaumont Enterprise offered a pithy commentary on Stockman’s conviction, and then concluded with this passage:

” … Just because you like a candidate for one or two positions doesn’t mean he is responsible and trustworthy. Anyone can make wild claims on the campaign trail, but it takes a serious grownup to deliver once in office. When an imposter occasionally slips through, he will be exposed eventually.”

Read the complete editorial here.

I am struck by a peculiar connection in that final paragraph I can read into the troubles of a contemporary politician.

I suppose you could replace the name “Stockman” with “Trump” and reach the same conclusion.

Donald J. Trump parlayed a few policy statements — immigration, making America “great again,” to name just two — that caught the imagination of enough voters to win the Electoral College in 2016.

Yes, he made “wild claims on the campaign trail.” The president is an “imposter” who “slipped through” to win the highest office in the land.

But will he “be exposed eventually”?

My heart hopes that he will.

Ex-congressman faces a possible prison term

I would feel a hint of compassion for a former congressman.

Except that I cannot.

Steve Stockman once was a Republican member of the House of Representatives. He served two non-consecutive terms. He now faces a possible decades-long prison sentence if a jury convicts him of mail and wire fraud, money laundering and election law violations.

He allegedly treated himself to lots of campaign cash, not to mention using it to pay for non-political related expenses for staffers and family members.

I don’t know whether he’s guilty of the charges brought against him. That will determined by a Houston-area jury. I do know of Stockman as one of the strangest politicians I’ve ever encountered.

He first won election to the House in 1994 as part of the GOP Contract With America tidal wave. He managed to sweep from Congress a powerful Democratic committee chairman, Jack Brooks of Beaumont, who at the time was the senior member of the Texas congressional delegation. Brooks chaired the House Judiciary Committee when he lost to Stockman — who knew next to nothing about the congressional district he represented for two years.

He most recently invited the angry man of rock ‘n roll music, Ted Nugent, to attend President Obama’s State of the Union speech in 2013; that occurred during Stockman’s second term in the House.

He didn’t distinguish himself at all during his time in the House. He ran for the U.S. Senate in 2014, but lost to incumbent John Cornyn in the GOP primary.

Stockman was a goofball while he served in the House. As the Texas Tribune reported, Stockman once had a bumper sticker printed that read: “If babies had guns they wouldn’t be aborted.”

Doesn’t this jokester just crack you up? Naw, me neither.

Well,  I’ll await his verdict and I might offer a comment when the jury delivers it.

I would wish him well, if only he had learned how to behave himself while he served in the People’s House.

Go, Louie, go for the speaker's job!

This might be the best news yet of the new year — which, I know, is just four days old.

U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-TEA Party Fringe, has just announced he’s going to challenge John Boehner as speaker of the House of Representatives.

How does it get any better than that?

Gohmert, you see, is in the running as well for being the goofiest member of Congress. He’s got some competition for that honor. The previous frontrunner was fellow Texan Steve Stockman, who had the bad form to challenge Sen. John Cornyn in the GOP primary this past spring; he lost badly. He’s now out of the House. Right up there, too, is Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who said illegal immigrants are packing illegal drug across the border while running on “calves the size of cantaloupes.”

Gohmert hails from East Texas and he’s challenging fellow Republican Donald Trump for the unofficial title of “birther in chief.” He and The Donald just do not believe that President Obama was born in the United States of America, in Hawaii, and that — by golly — he’s constitutionally qualified to serve in the office to which he was elected twice.

Now he’s running for speaker. He told his pal Tucker Carlson on Fox News that someone needs to challenge Boehner. Gohmert says he’s gotten “a lot” of support to mount that challenge.

I’d love to ask him how he defines the measure of so-called support. Maybe it is a lot. It surely must be vocal because that’s how the TEA party wing of the GOP operates. It outshouts the other side within the Republican Party and then it outshouts the Democrats.

Hey, the truth is he’s just firing a shot across Boehner’s bow. He’s telling the speaker to watch his right flank. The TEA party will be watching, waiting and looking for any opportunity to undermine the speaker’s instincts to work with the other side.

I’m still glad to see Rep. Gohmert step up — even if it does embarrass some Texas residents back home who really would prefer that he shut his trap.

Texas tea party stands tall

I always thought “Texas tea” referred to oil.

It now has a political connotation, as in “Texas tea party.” Ladies and gents, the tea party has taken the Texas Republican Party hostage. It has swallowed it whole and has produced a slate of statewide candidates that’ll make the hair stand up on some of us Texas residents.

Texas Monthly’s Paul Burka is one who is very afraid of what the future might hold.


I concur with his assessment.

He seems to be conceding the November election already to one tea party candidate in particular: state Sen. Dan Patrick, the Republican/tea party candidate for lieutenant governor.

I’m not yet ready to go there.

Democratic nominee, fellow state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, well could turn out to be the most formidable Democratic candidate on the statewide ballot. She’s Patrick’s opponent this fall. I’m going to wait until all the ballots are counted before declaring him the all-but-certain lieutenant governor.

Of all the assertions Burka makes, the most interesting is this: “One thing I believe with absolute certainty: Dan Patrick as lieutenant governor will hasten the day Texas turns purple. His personal history is one of recklessness and carelessness. There are going to be train wrecks along the way. I have serious doubts about whether the tea party can govern or whether Patrick can get along with his peers without having a meltdown along the way.”

Meltdown? I keep thinking of the release late in the campaign of Patrick’s medical records, which included some time with a shrink who counseled him about his depression. It was a low blow at the end of a tough campaign to bring that stuff up … but is this part of Burka’s calculation about how the Texas Senate might be run under the leadership of a Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick?

Tea party candidates have bitten the dust all over the country. Not in Texas, though. They’re riding high.

One bit of cheer is worth passing on: At least Republicans had the good sense to toss aside Steve Stockman’s challenge to John Cornyn in the U.S. Senate primary.

Cornyn’s tea party challenge goes kaput

So much for a serious challenge to U.S. Sen. John Cornyn from the tea party wing of the Texas Republican Party.

U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Loony Bin, had been counted on by many within the GOP to mount a stout bid to unseat the veteran lawmaker.

Silly them. It didn’t happen. It won’t happen.


The tea party wing of the reliably Republican Party of Texas has abandoned Stockman, who’s vanished from the campaign trail — yet again. He’s been a no-show at campaign events. His dismal campaign effort has been described as “horrible” by Texas tea party bigwig JoAnn Fleming.

I’m still trying to figure out why the righties dislike Cornyn so much. He’s racked up a generally conservative voting record in the Senate. He’s led the Senate campaign committee effort to recruit solid GOP candidates for Congress’s upper chamber. He’s been pretty darn critical of his Senate Democratic colleagues and the Democrat who lives in the White House.

What brought about this idiotic challenge — from the likes of Steve Stockman, no less?

They disliked his vote to avoid going over the “fiscal cliff.” He didn’t stand with tea party favorite U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s effort to defund the Affordable Care Act. And just recently he voted to extend the nation’s borrowing limit without attaching any spending limits.

In other words, he ain’t vicious enough.

Stockman emerged as the leading challenge to Cornyn within the Republican Party. The congressman held true to his form, however, in acting weirdly in public. He invited has-been rocker and Second Amendment firebrand Ted Nugent to the State of the Union speech in January. He’s faced questions about his staff’s campaign activities — but has disappeared for days and weeks on end to avoid answering them.

Sen. Cornyn will be re-nominated in a few days. He’ll go to on face a Democrat this fall. He’ll likely be re-elected.

I was hoping for a more serious challenge for Cornyn. Sigh. It wasn’t meant to be.

So long, Rep. Stockman.

Stockman reveals his whereabouts

Steve Stockman was touring the Middle East and Europe instead of casting votes for his congressional constituents, the U.S. Senate candidate said today.

There. That settles it. Yes? Not exactly.


Stockman is a Republican firebrand who’s challenging Sen. John Cornyn in this year’s GOP primary. Why wasn’t he voting on measures? Because he doesn’t have “a zillion dollars” like Cornyn. He said has to campaign for the office.

But … why was he in Egypt, Israel, Russia and the United Kingdom? Are there voters in those countries he needs to court?

He needs to get back to the business of studying issues and then voting on them when they come before the House. That’s what his constituents are paying him to do.

As for campaigning for another office, he can fly home to Texas on weekends — which many lawmakers do routinely — and hit the campaign trail.

Come to Amarillo, Mr. Stockman, and tell us why Republicans should toss out the state’s senior senator for yet another new guy.

Waiting for Stockman to come clean

I’m waiting anxiously for U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman’s revelation as to where he’s been hiding out the past few weeks.

The goofy Texas congressman is running for the Senate against incumbent Republican John Cornyn. He made his announcement with a bit of a splash. Then when the ripple disappeared, so did he.

The tea party favorite really doesn’t — or shouldn’t — have a chance in Hades of winning the Republican primary this coming March. But with Texas politics being as volatile as it is — especially on the GOP side — nothing would totally surprise me.

Stockman has been MIA for some time. He has canceled campaign appearances amid some questions about whether he has the endorsements he claims.

Late this past week, he tweeted something about an announcement as to where he’s been. I’m hoping he’ll tell an anxious public where he’s going, such as whether he’s going to keep running for the Senate.

A part of me wishes he’s been hiking along some mysterious trail, a la former Republican South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who had his staff lie about his whereabouts, only to have it revealed he was cavorting in Argentina with a woman other than his then-wife Jenni.

But we’ll see come Monday where Steve Stockman’s been hiding.

Welcome back to the spotlight, congressman.

I hope.

Cornyn running against … President Obama?

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn has just let Texans know how seriously he views the challenge from his right.

Not very seriously at all, or so it appears.

Cornyn has released a TV spot that talks not about any of the people running against him in the March 4 Republican primary. He blasts President Obama.


It’s not surprising, perhaps, to see this kind of strategy begin to play out. The more a powerful incumbent says about an opponent, the more publicity the opponent gets. I refer to U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Friendswood, who’s emerging as the chief primary challenger to Cornyn.

The incumbent isn’t about to give Stockman any mention at all. Why should he? Doing so elevates Stockman’s profile; it gives him attention; it provides him with grist of his own to use against Cornyn.

It doesn’t hurt that Cornyn is holding up the president as a “foe,” given Barack Obama’s unpopularity among most Texans.

The language in the ad is harsh. In my view it’s overly harsh, but that’s just me.

However, it makes for extremely smart politics from John Cornyn.

Stockman’s killin’ me with these fake endorsements

Steve Stockman’s campaign for the U.S. Senate is barely off the ground and already he’s cracking me up.

The latest is that the freshman congressman from the Texas Gulf Coast is touting endorsements that do not exist. He’s never had them.


My favorite “endorsement” that Stockman claims comes from the National Rifle Association, which in fact has endorsed incumbent U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, Stockman’s opponent in this March’s Republican primary.

This clown is amazing.

Another good one is Stockman’s claim that conservative activist — the late Howard Phillips — has backed his candidacy. One problem: Phillip died seven months before Stockman declared his intention to challenge Cornyn.

This is precisely the kind of thing that should sink a goofball such as Stockman.

However …

In this zany political climate, I’m not going to take all of this to the bank just yet. Strange things can and do happen within the Republican Party.

I’ll be holding my breath until we get all the ballots counted on March 4.

When I do draw a breath, I’ll likely be laughing at Steve Stockman’s idiotic pronouncements.