DeLayVsWorld quotes from an interview in Human Events with Steve Stockman, the loony former Congressman now running as an independent in CD22.
“I’m not here to ensure a loss but to make sure that Nick Lampson is not elected,” explained Stockman, referring to the Democrat who unseated him in 1996 and is now the likely Democratic opponent to embattled former Majority Leader DeLay.
In an exclusive interview, Stockman emphasized that, in running as an independent rather than challenging DeLay in the Republican primary March 7, he would be free to attack old nemesis Lampson “like a pit bull.”
Voicing his friendship for his former colleague, Stockman nonetheless expressed his concern that “this Abramoff thing is hurting the party and we could lose Tom’s seat.”
With DeLay voluntarily relinquishing securely Republican portions of his district in the redistricting process that permitted the GOP to make major gains in the House from Texas in ’04, Stockman observed, “He won re-election last time with only 54% of the vote while George Bush was carrying the 22nd by better than two-to-one.”
As to how running as an independent helps DeLay, Stockman told me that he would be free to keep attacking Lampson for his own “ethical lapses” while in local office before he came to Congress. “And that’s something Tom can’t do under the present circumstances,” he added.
Other area Republicans have said that should DeLay abandon his re-election campaign in favor of another conservative Republican — most likely Harris County (Houston) Judge Rob Echols [sic]. Stockman would almost certainly drop out of the race in favor of the new GOP candidate.
Stockman also said he tried to reach DeLay to discuss his strategy before announcing it, “but he never returned my call.”
Minor point#1: It’s Eckels, not Echols, as DvsW notes.
Minor point #2: Bush carried CD22 by a 64.4 to 35.6 margin, which is less than two-to-one, not greater.
Main point: Like DvsW, I’m not sure how Stockman can better accomplish his goal by running as an independent than he could have by not running and doing his promised “pit bull” thing from the sidelines. For one thing, who does Stockman think will vote for him – people who would’ve otherwise voted for DeLay, people who would’ve otherwise voted for Lampson, or people who would’ve otherwise not voted? Only voters in the second group help DeLay win, but how many such people does he think there are? I can’t imagine any.
Secondly, how does Stockman expect to get his message out? If he’s got the funds to buy advertising time or to send out mailers, why not just create a 527 group and blast away? He doesn’t need to be in the race for that. The one possibility that comes to my mind is that he might get local news coverage as a candidate that he wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. I concede that this may have merit as a plan, but what is he going to have to do to get that coverage, and will that really have the desired effect? If he thinks he’ll get press just because of who he is, I think he’s going to be disappointed. And yes, I recognize the irony of me writing that, but again, if this is what he had in mind coverage-wise, then he’s loopier than even I thought.
I think the odds are much greater that Stockman will be either a footnote to this campaign, or that he’ll prove more of a distraction to DeLay than he will an asset. But who knows? I’m not going to try to predict what a fool like Steve Stockman is going to do. We’ll know soon enough.