Rocky Running for Texas Senate
One of the most interesting political contests to watch is the race for John Cornyn’s Texas Senate seat. Cornyn is a 2-term incumbent with at least $8.5 million in his war chest and plenty of resources to tap for more. His number one challenger, who has been billed as a “Tea Party Favorite” by many in the media, started the race with just $32 thousand and still has not raised very much more. Stockman is clearly the underdog. Most experts scoffed at the idea that he even had a chance to win this race.
Obviously Senator Cornyn was not laughing. Within hours of Stockman’s filing, a huge negative campaign arose with websites and Google ads and radio spots popping up so suddenly that one can only conclude that Cornyn anticipated the challenge and had an armory of weapons ready to annihilate the upstart before he could gain any traction. Not only did attacks from Cornyn and Super PACs supporting him commence firing the big guns, one of the seven other challengers in the race soon shifted his aim against Stockman rather than against Cornyn, as traditional campaign wisdom would dictate.
The pummeling that Stockman has withstood over the weeks since filing in November has been relentless and merciless. In addition, although Stockman withdrew his filing to run for re-election of his Congressional seat (TX-36) when he filed to run for Senate, he did not resign his job as a Congressman. The job requires him to be in Washington DC four days a week and to travel back and forth in order to have any time at all to campaign—or to do anything else. That means that Stockman has barely even defended himself against the attacks from two sides. By all rights, we would expect Stockman to be pounded into insignificance in the contest by this time. But he is not!
Our information has it that a poll that will be released on Monday shows that Senator Cornyn, who started at 50% at the time Stockman entered the race and who has spent millions of dollars promoting his campaign and more millions attacking Stockman as being “shady”, is still at that same 50%. Meanwhile, Stockman, who is running with virtually no money and very few hours a week to devote to campaign, has risen from the 6% he was at when he initially filed to a very respectable 21% today, with the half dozen other challengers all trailing far behind.
There was a very famous boxer named Rocky Marciano, on whom the Rocky Balboa character was loosely based, who was known to be so tough that he could let his opponent pummel him until his arms were too tired to punch any more and then Rocky would step in and finish him off. One can not help but see the comparison to Stockman. Not many in politics could withstand the beating that Stockman has taken and even fewer could move the ball forward while the pounding is going on. But, this is not the first time Congressman Stockman has done this. In fact, it appears to be somewhat typical of his campaigns.
In 1994, Stockman, a conservative Republican, won election to the House in a district that was 60% Democrat with a 42-year incumbent who was one of the most powerful men in the House and who had virtually unlimited money to spend and no compunctions about viciously attacking an opponent until he was beaten into a quivering mound of jelly. And, Congressman Jack Brooks certainly did not restrain himself in his attacks against Stockman. He outspent Stockman 12:1 and seemed confident of a victory up until the final tally when Stockman emerged victorious. Then in 1996, after redistricting that gerrymandered his district (TX-9) to be even less friendly to a Republican, he was unseated.
Again in 2012 Stockman faced an opponent who spent more than ten times what Stockman spent and who thought he was sailing to an easy win when Stockman seemingly arose from his political death bed to win a shot at a runoff, then to win the runoff and then the general election to make him the first Representative for the new Texas Congressional District 36.
Now, it appears he may do it again. Just a few weeks ago nobody gave him a prayer to win the Senate seat and many said he must be crazy to walk away from a certain win for his re-election to the House in order to run for the Senate. It will be interesting to see how their assessments will change on Monday when the poll results are published. Stockman has a very strong record of winning runoffs and if Cornyn can not get at least one vote above 50%, he will have to face “Rocky” in a runoff—it is like seeing Marciano step toward you when you are too tired to lift up your arms.