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Tea Party challengers fizzle in Texas
The Hill ^ | February 16, 2014 | Cameron Joseph

Posted on 02/18/2014 5:04:48 AM PST by thackney

Nearly two years after Ted Cruz's come-from-behind primary victory, Tea Party challengers are fizzling in Texas.

Defeating the former Senate and House GOP campaign committee heads would be a top trophy for conservative insurgents. But with just over two weeks until Election Day, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) are both heavy favorites against their primary opponents.

Texas Republicans laugh that gadfly Rep. Steve Stockman's (R-Texas) challenge to Cornyn has been a comedy of errors. Tea Party leader Katrina Pierson (R) has failed to gain any real traction against Sessions as she’s struggled with fundraising and name recognition.

Both veteran lawmakers have run strong campaigns, raised huge sums of money and have given conservatives few reasons to reject them. Cornyn, the Senate minority whip and former chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has raised nearly $10 million for the race. Sessions, the Rules Committee chairman and former head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, raised $1.3 million for his campaign.

Texas Republicans say the only incumbent member of the delegation with a real race on his hands is Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas) — and that’s being driven by Hall’s age, not ideology.

Cornyn’s and Sessions’s challengers have articulated few credible reasons to oust them and haven’t raised enough money to even mount serious campaigns. Early voting starts on Tuesday, and the primary is on March 5.

“Everyone knows Stockman is a crazy person and that's why none of the national conservative groups are supporting him,” said one national conservative strategist.

Every Tea Party candidate — especially those in Texas —wants to be the second coming of Cruz. But neither Stockman not Pierson has been able to do what Cruz accomplished: Raise millions of dollars, attract the support of the coalition of deep-pocketed national groups that can help fuel an insurgent challenger, and give conservatives a reason why a better-known and better-funded opponent shouldn’t win the race.

“You don't just snap your fingers and create viability by saying 'I love Ted Cruz and I'm a Tea Party member.' Running a viable campaign takes time and effort,” said the strategist.

Cruz defeated Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) by working for months to build a statewide campaign structure, raising huge sums of money and winning the endorsements of groups including the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks and The Senate Conservatives Fund.

Cruz also benefitted from a later primary forced by a court battle over the state’s congressional maps, and having other challengers in the race to help keep Dewhurst under the 50 percent threshold and force a runoff.

Stockman announced his campaign at the eleventh hour, just as Texas’s campaign filing deadline closed on December 9. Already saddled with $160,000 in debt from his previous run and facing questions about whether he violated campaign finance law, he raised just $37,000 in his first month as a candidate in a state where it costs millions to run just a single week of ads.

The freshman congressman disappeared from the campaign trail for weeks to go on an international trip with other lawmakers, missing dozens of votes as well as opportunities to campaign back in the state.

He failed to win endorsement from any of the conservative groups who helped propel Cruz, and campaign has been ridiculed by observers across the political spectrum for its ineptitude. Stockman has been most successful at drawing earned media with his controversial tweets — most recently a mock Valentine’s card saying Cornyn “is cheating on you with Obamacare.”

“He's not credible. At the end of the day that's the problem. Ted Cruz is credible. Mike Lee is credible. Steve Stockman's not,” said Texas-based GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak. “You can't run a statewide race in three months, you just can't do it, and he's gone about the entire campaign so unintelligently that it's kind of offensive.”

Cornyn has given Stockman little to attack him on, though some conservatives grumbled when he split from Cruz on the push to defund ObamaCare that led to a federal government shutdown. He also angered a few by voting with Democrats on a procedural motion earlier this week that cleared the way for them to raise the debt ceiling, but the fact he did so shows how little he’s worried about Stockman.

The two-term senator has a conservative pedigree overall, however — he has an 87 percent lifetime rating on The Club for Growth’s scorecard, and his vote this week was evidence that he’s not afraid of Stockman picking apart his voting record.

As laughable as Stockman’s challenge may have been, Cornyn took the threat seriously nonetheless and is using huge warchest to take to the air to tout his record. To run his campaign he hired brought in Brendan Steinhauser, who’d run FreedomWorks’ grassroots field program and has close ties with the state’s GOP activists. He also locked in support from the National Rifle Association and the National Right to Life PAC.

“Sen. Cornyn is proud of his strong conservative record, and appreciates all the support he’s gotten from folks across Texas on the campaign trail,” said Cornyn campaign spokesman Drew Brandewie.

Pierson has run a more professional campaign than Stockman, but it may still not be enough. The local Tea Party leader secured endorsements from FreedomWorks and Tea Party Express as well as from Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, and conservative blogger Michelle Malkin. But she raised just $40,000 in her last fundraising quarter, leaving her with no chance to run television ads in the expensive Dallas-area district.

Sessions has also amassed a solidly conservative voting record over the years. Even FreedomWorks gives him an 81 percent lifetime score. And in his ads he reminded voters he was one of the architects behind the GOP’s 2010 takeover of Congress.

“We're talking about Pete's history of conservative leadership in D.C.,” said Sessions campaign spokesman Bruce Harvey.

Pierson slams Session as a “big government, big spending career politician” and “a big backer of Boehner's failed leadership.” She says her weak fundraising won’t stop her from winning her race.

“We have the district. We're not really worried about how much money he spends on TV — we're ahead of him with yard signs, volunteers,” she told The Hill. “You don't have to match these guys dollar for dollar or even ten to one.”

Ultimately, observers confidently predict both Pierson and Stockman too will fall far short of their goals, and are unlikely to force runoffs with the lawmakers.

“There's still an overwhelming desire by Republicans to elect credible people who can actually govern. Sen. Cornyn has demonstrated that throughout his career. Stockman is just not credible and he has absolutely no business running for the United States Senate,” said Texas-based GOP strategist Scott Howell.

“It's the same with Pete Sessions — he's in leadership and has done a great job,” Howell continued. “[Voters] are smart, they have brains, they can read and they can see, and if you can't give a compelling reason why the other guy should be thrown out he's not going to be. You can't just say you're a Tea Party candidate and expect to win.”

TOPICS: News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: 2014gopprimary; 2014midterms; cornyn; stockman; stoveall; tx2014; vote
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Come on Texas, don't give up the fight.

Early voting starts today.

1 posted on 02/18/2014 5:04:48 AM PST by thackney
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2 posted on 02/18/2014 5:05:56 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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3 posted on 02/18/2014 5:07:56 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: thackney

Don’t listen to the naysayers but it does bring to mind that we need an independent accounting firm to count the votes and investigate electronic record tampering in the voting system that has no government oversight.

4 posted on 02/18/2014 5:08:41 AM PST by jsanders2001
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To: thackney

Ted Cruz has nothing to do with this.

He came through with four endorsements all for judges

It is well known you can’t make a politician into something he is not

Cornyn is awful. Cruz wants people he can work with. It’s not a problem easily solved

5 posted on 02/18/2014 5:14:51 AM PST by stanne
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To: thackney

Please it the Hill , a left-wing DC insider front group that peddles K street press releases as News like its 24 /7soros Amnesty propaganda !

This is more astroturf from there DC insider comrades!

6 posted on 02/18/2014 5:18:36 AM PST by ncalburt ( Amnesty-media out in full force)
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To: thackney
This article came out just before this:

Stockman Closing Gap on Cornyn in Latest TX Senate Poll

Stockman has closed the gap from 44 to 15 points, but more importantly, has placed Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, below the 50% hurdle at only 43% GOP support. Cornyn needs 50% in order to avoid a runoff on May 10.

7 posted on 02/18/2014 5:19:36 AM PST by icwhatudo (Low taxes and less spending in Sodom and Gomorrah is not my idea of a conservative victory)
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To: jsanders2001

I wonder what kind of articles they were writing two years ago when Cruz was entering early voting and before Sarah helped rally later on?

8 posted on 02/18/2014 5:22:17 AM PST by txhurl
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To: icwhatudo

As a Texan who’d love to bounce Cornyn for Ted Cruz Jr...........Stockman hasn’t exactly set the world on fire. Pretty much, uh, nothing. I’ll vote for the non-Cornyn when the time comes but I’m not holding my breath.

9 posted on 02/18/2014 5:26:10 AM PST by FAA
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To: thackney

“The Hill” trying the Jedi mind trick.

“These are not the conservative candidates you are looking for...”

10 posted on 02/18/2014 5:29:24 AM PST by Mr. K (If you like your constitution, you can keep it...Period.)
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To: thackney
Cameron Joseph

Just another loser lib from the Obama Media Group

"Campaign reporter for The Hill, music snob, long-suffering Cubs fan"

11 posted on 02/18/2014 5:31:20 AM PST by KeyLargo
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To: Mr. K
Cameron Joseph is actually 'Pajama Boy'
12 posted on 02/18/2014 5:35:14 AM PST by KeyLargo
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To: thackney

Sounds more like wishful thinking.

Come on, Texas, you can do this! We need to send a loud and clear message!

13 posted on 02/18/2014 5:36:40 AM PST by Thorliveshere (Minnesota Survivor)
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To: icwhatudo

Signs will be going up today, I’ll drive around to get a gander at the ground games in action.

14 posted on 02/18/2014 5:38:34 AM PST by txhurl
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To: thackney

Everything comes down to candidate quality.

15 posted on 02/18/2014 5:38:40 AM PST by Darren McCarty (Abortion - legalized murder for convenience)
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To: Darren McCarty

And I say thing as someone who hopes Stockman wins and goes back to his 94 self.

16 posted on 02/18/2014 5:40:40 AM PST by Darren McCarty (Abortion - legalized murder for convenience)
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To: KeyLargo

LOL! Good One!

17 posted on 02/18/2014 5:45:26 AM PST by july4thfreedomfoundation (I don't want to feel "safe." I want to feel FREE!)
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To: txhurl

The best thing for real patriots to do is stop listening to the faux patriots (liberal equivalent of a RINO), liberals, progressives, Dems and go out and vote and remove them from office. We need to install our own people in the elections departments to look for any orruption or manipulation of the voting process which everyone suspects is manipulation of the electronic data. We just need to catch them red handed and spot their dirty tactics of voting in multiple districts and using illegal aliens and welfare recipients driven in by the busloads:

18 posted on 02/18/2014 5:49:29 AM PST by jsanders2001
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To: thackney
Guess even in Texas many people are satisfied with the status quo. So if you think Obama is doing a good job and America is on the right track then re-elect Republicans that cave in and allow Obama and the Democrats to do whatever they please. Take the easy route. See where that leads..
19 posted on 02/18/2014 5:50:46 AM PST by SECURE AMERICA (Where can I go to sign up for the American Revolution 2014 and the Crusades 2014?)
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To: thackney; Texas Fossil; Windflier; All

I read this article by Cameron Joseph twice, and came to the following conclusions:
* “The Hill” Journal is four-square behind the TEXAS Congressional RINO Candidates running to keep on doing nothing to stop Obama;
*”The Hill” journalist Cameron J. uses Left Stream Media Jargon such as the phrase “ Everybody knows;”
*Stovall, the TEA Party’s chosen Candidate to replace Cornyn, was never mentioned in the article;
* Only supporters of Cornyn were quoted in this puff-piece article;
* Opponent of Sessions, Pierson was quoted when describing Sessions as a: “big government, big spending career politician” and “a big backer of Boehner’s failed leadership.”

This last quote by Pierson succinctly states the Primary (pun intended) reason why Sessions AND Cornyn should be voted out of their RINO offices, because both men have a long history of being “big government, big spending career politicians” and “big backers of Boehner’s and McConnell’s failed leadership.”

20 posted on 02/18/2014 5:51:21 AM PST by Graewoulf (Democrats' Obamacare Socialist Health Insur. Tax violates U.S. Constitution AND Anti-Trust Law.)
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