Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Tex.) filed a last-minute challenge to Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) Monday, a decision that will thrust him into the statewide media spotlight in Texas.
So just who is Stockman, the man who just made the Senate race more interesting? Here are five things to know about him.
1. He has a knack for stirring controversy. Stockman is a far-right conservative who has threatened to impeach President Obama over gun regulations and once said Democrats "worship abortion with same fervor the Canaanites worshipped Molech." He often takes to Twitter with confrontational messages aimed at the Obama administration. Here's a sampling:
You don't need to be an IRS agent to get your own Bushmaster AR-15. I'm giving one away for FREE on July 4! Sign up! https://t.co/zeLnXJmm9u
— Rep. Steve Stockman (@StockmanSenate) June 13, 2013
Ted Cruz stayed up all night to fight ObamaCare. Obama went to bed while Ambassador Stevens was being murdered. — Rep. Steve Stockman (@SteveWorks4You) September 25, 2013
Democrats just curb-stomped veterans. Because Obama told them to. — Rep. Steve Stockman (@SteveWorks4You) October 2, 2013
About 110,000 people contract chlamydia each month, more than signed up for Obamacare. Obamacare is less popular than chlamydia.
— Rep. Steve Stockman (@SteveWorks4You) November 14, 2013
2. He was once homeless. In the 1980s, Stockman spent time without a home. He was also arrested on a drug charge. He turned things around when he took a job at a steel mill, got a college degree and became a born-again Christian. The Philadelphia Inquirer took a closer look at Stockman's struggles in a 1995 story:
Dropping out of college in his native Michigan in 1979, Stockman had drifted to an older brother's house in Wisconsin. Soon they quarreled over Stockman's non-employment and Stockman got on a bus to Texas, where his grandparents lived.
Unable to find work by the mid-1980, Stockman took up residence in the Fort Worth Water Gardens, which then, as now, played host to vagrants.
"When you don't have work and you don't have a fixed address, you become . . . homeless," said Stockman during an interview in his Cannon office.
He took up a street name. "I called myself 'Max,' " he said, "because I figured this was the maximum I could go down."
3. Sixteen years separate his two terms in the House. Stockman was elected to a Houston-area House seat in 1994 after falling short in two previous campaigns. But he was unseated just two years later. He returned in the 2012 election to win the new 36th district. In between, he worked in banking and consulting, and taught at the Leadership Institute.
4. He has scant campaign cash. Stockman had a paltry $32,000 in his campaign account, according to his most recent campaign finance report. He also carried more than $163,000 in debt. Cornyn had about $7 million in the bank in his last report. So, yeah, there's a pretty huge money gap. And money matters in Texas, where it's expensive to advertise in the state's big media markets. Stockman's only hope is that tea party groups spend big on his behalf and new donors rally to his side.
5. He's faced other campaign finance questions. Stockman recently fired two staffers for making improper donations, a development that a lengthy Houston Chronicle story revealed last month:
The Clear Lake Republican's campaign for Congress in Texas' 36th District has been notified of potential problems with its campaign finance filings in 2012 and 2013 approximately a dozen times, including apparently misreported donations, late or missing filings of required reports, and inaccuracies in certain filings.
Both this year and in the 1990s, his campaigns were investigated for issues relating to campaign materials made to look like newspapers. While the earlier complaints resulted in a settlement with the Federal Election Commission and a civil penalty, the most recent complaint was dismissed without enforcement action, the FEC announced Friday.