Tea party Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) will challenge sitting Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) in Texas’s Republican primary. Stockman, considered one of the most far-right Republicans in the House, filed his documents to run just before the 6 pm deadline Monday, surprising Republicans and Democrats alike.
Stockman has an interesting history. Shortly after graduating from college with a Bachelors’ degree, Stockman found himself unemployed and homeless and was once arrested on a drug charge. In an event he says turned his life around, Stockman became a born-again Christian, found work, joined the Young Conservatives of Texas, and made his first bid for Congress in 1990.
After two unsuccessful runs in 1990 and 1992, Stockman was elected to the House of Representatives in 1994. He served one term before leaving again, working for several conservative advocacy organizations, including the Leadership Institute and the Young Conservatives of Texas. He was eventually re-elected to Congress in 2012.
Here’s what you need to know about the new Senate candidate for Texas:
1. He threatened to impeach Obama after the Newtown shooting. In January of 2013, as the country was reeling from the Newtown massacre, Stockman warned that if Obama tried to pass any gun-related legislation, he would file articles for impeachment in the House. A few weeks later walked back that claim. But in October of this year, Stockman confirmed to the right-wing Daily Caller that he had ensured each member of the House had a copy of a book entitled, “Impeachable Offenses: The case for removing Barack Obama from office.” In an interview with the conspiracy-peddling World Net Daily, Stockman confirmed that he had lawyers looking to see if Obama had violated the constitution in regards to Obamacare.
2. He thinks climate change is a “fad.” Stockman has said that global warming is “the new fad thing that’s going through America and around the world.” As a climate change denier and a representative of one of the most oil-rich states, he’s also a huge advocate for fossil fuels. He once tweeted that “The best thing about the Earth is if you poke holes in it oil and gas come out.”
3. He joked that the Boston bomber escaped “after hearing Gore speak on global warming.” Stockman is known for his outrageous tweets. During the hunt for the Boston Marathon Bombers, Stockman tweeted, “Suspect thought he could escape in backyard boat after hearing Gore speak on global warming.” He later deleted the tweet. But many more of his controversial tweets remain live online, including a long mockery of one of his colleague’s outfits, and an image of what he calls “our campaign bumper sticker” that reads, “If babies had guns, they wouldn’t be aborted.”
4. He compared Obama to Saddam Hussein. A few months after the Sandy Hook shooting, Stockman raffled off an AR-15 — the exact type of weapon used by the gunman — to get people to sign up for his email list. Such raffles were later condemned by his fellow Republicans as “outrageous” and “insensitive.” Stockman also panned Obama for bringing children to his announcement that he would push for new gun legislation, saying it reminded him of Saddam Hussein using children as human shields during the Gulf War.
5. He mocks gay and transgender people. When Stockman ran for Congress back in the 1990s, his opponent ran a campaign advertisement hinting that Stockman was gay because he owned an art studio in an area known for nude modeling. Stockman responded by telling a reporter that the ad helped him get attention, and that he did like ceramics, “but don’t say that or they’ll think I’m a fag for sure.” Stockman’s record lives up to this derogatory language; when talking earlier this year about protections for transgendered people in the Violence Against Women Act, Stockman asked, “it’s called a women’s act, but then they have men dressed up as women, they count that. Change-gender, or whatever. How is that — how is that a woman?”
6. He believes food stamps are unnecessary. Over the summer, an aide in Stockman’s office took the so-called ‘food stamp challenge’ where he tried to eat on the budget of a supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) beneficiary for a week, as a way of proving food stamp cuts wouldn’t harm people. The aide argued that SNAP benefits are unneeded, and that the Democrats who were trying to show it was a hard budget to live on were “intentionally buying overpriced food and shopping at high-priced chains to make it appear the cuts go too far.” He then accused the poor who rely on food stamps of being too self-indulgent to eat healthy food. “Folks aren’t buying fast food instead of vegetables because of benefit limits,” he said, “they’re buying fast food because fast food tastes great and vegetables taste like vegetables.” Stockman voted against the farm bill because it did not make deep enough cuts to nutrition assistance.