Cornyn easily survives Stockman challenge

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) has won his primary, easily beating back seven challengers including Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas).

With 11 percent of precincts reporting Cornyn led the crowded GOP primary with 62 percent of the vote, surpassing the 50 percent needed to avoid a June runoff. Stockman had 18 percent, while fellow Tea Party candidate Dwayne Stovall had 10 percent. The Associated Press has called the race.

ADVERTISEMENT
Early polls showed Cornyn might be vulnerable to a challenge, but the Senate minority whip and former chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee did everything he could to ward off a serious primary. He raised nearly $11 million and spent $8 million on the race, and brought in as his campaign manager Brendan Steinhauser, who’d run FreedomWorks’s efforts to help elect Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in 2012, to help reach out to the party’s right flank.

He was helped by Stockman, who ran one of the most idiosyncratic and unusual campaigns in modern history. The freshman congressman launched his bid just minutes before the filing deadline with almost no money in the bank, took a weeks-long overseas trip as part of his congressional duties, and barely campaigned in the state. 

Stockman faced a series of questions about whether he violated campaign finance law and about his past arrest record, neither seriously sought nor received backing from major Tea Party groups in the state or nationally, and drew ridicule from across the political spectrum for his lack of a campaign.

Cornyn called for a big tent Republican Party and took a subtle dig at Stockman in his victory speech.

"Texans continue to be practical in their approach — they're looking for solutions, not just speeches," he said.

Stockman, known for his controversial tweets, took to Twitter to admit defeat as the polls closed at 8pm Eastern time.

"Thank you to everyone who voted for me. With less than 90 days to run and under attack from false ads we weren't able to run like we wanted," he tweeted.

This article was updated at 10:00 p.m.