In the crowded primary race to fill the congressional seat vacated by disgraced Arizona Republican Trent Franks, one name stands out: Bob Stump.
Bob Stump is the name of a longtime politician who represented Arizona’s 3rd district in Congress for 26 years and earned a reputation as one of the most conservative members of the House of Representatives. He died in 2003.
Bob Stump also happens to be the chosen name of Christopher Robert Stump, a 46-year-old politician who is no relation to the late Bob Stump. He is, however, running alongside 11 other Republicans to replace Franks, who resigned last year amid sexual misconduct allegations.
Christopher Robert Stump was, until 2002, known as Christopher Stump. He started calling himself Bob Stump shortly before his first bid for public office.
The use of the name Bob Stump by Christopher Robert Stump is causing some consternation.
The late congressman’s widow says candidate Stump’s decision to go by Bob is a cheap and deceitful attempt to trade on her late husband’s name. On Sunday, she released a sharply worded letter calling on him to make clear that the two men are not related.
“I want to set the record straight: There is only one Bob Stump and that was my late husband,” Nancy Stump wrote. “Christopher Robert Stump is not related to my late husband or to our family in any way, shape or form. I would ask that he publicly acknowledge that he is not related to our family and stop this charade. The voters deserve to know the truth.”
But the mother of Christopher Robert Stump clapped back Tuesday, saying the family had no right to claim a monopoly over the name. In fact, she said, there have been numerous Bob Stumps.
“I, too, want to set the record straight: There is not, as Mrs. Stump put it, ‘only one Bob Stump, and that was my late husband,'” the candidate’s mother wrote in an open letter. “My late husband was also named Bob Stump, as was my husband’s father. My husband and I had every right to name our son after him. This name has been in our family since at least the 19th century.”
Candidate Bob Stump, who has served in the Arizona legislature and was twice elected to the state’s utility regulator, defended his name during a Republican debate hosted last week by the Arizona Republic. His goal, he said, was to highlight his bond with his father.
“It’s been in my family for generations. My dad had Alzheimer’s disease and one of the only names he remembered was my name and his,” Stump said. “My dad didn’t want me to be known as Junior, so that’s why they gave me the middle name of Robert . . . It’s a name that means a lot to my family. I think the voters know who I am. I’ve been in office 15 years.”
But it wasn’t always this way, as the Arizona Republic has reported:
Before running for office, Stump, who is 46, was known as Christopher Stump.
In 1997, when he was a reporter for the conservative Weekly Standard, his byline was Christopher Stump. That’s what it was when he wrote for the Wilson Quarterly in 1998.
Stump also served as a research associate for David Frum, who would later serve as a speechwriter for President George W. Bush.
Frum’s 2000 book, “How We Got Here: The 70s, The Decade That Brought You Modern Life (For Better or Worse),” acknowledged “very able researchers,” including Chris Stump.
It wasn’t until 2002, when he first ran for the Arizona legislature, that he started going by Bob, according to 12News. Rep. Bob Stump died in June of the following year.
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