A poll released today shows Steve Stockman potentially forcing a runoff in the Republican primary for the US Senate seat currently held by John Cornyn. This news is particularly stunning as Stockman has been almost entirely absent from the campaign trail.
These poll numbers are fairly consistent with the pattern David Dewhurst faced in his campaign against Ted Cruz two years ago. Very few Texas Republican primary voters are aware of Stockman, but they are pretty convinced that Cornyn, one of the Senate’s most far-right conservatives, is not crazy enough to represent them.
It remains unlikely that Stockman can find a way to win. He’s just as nutty as Ted Cruz, but he’s not half as competent. As I wrote after Stockman launched his campaign:
Though Cornyn’s poll numbers are very weak for an incumbent, it is unlikely that Stockman will do to Cornyn what Cruz did to David Dewhurst. Cruz may be a modern day Confederate, but he’s also a politically calculating Ivy Leaguer who knows which fork to use.
Stockman, on the other hand, is a walking disaster. He has earned his place in the political world as an opportunist with a talent for the political grift who is probably incapable of managing the most basic mechanics of a campaign on that scale. Stockman makes Ted Cruz look like a credible leadership figure.
These poll numbers almost certainly reflect the blind ‘throw the bums out’ logic of the Tea Party rather than any affection for Stockman. That said, like some sort of political herpes, Stockman just won’t go away.