With no heavy hitters in the Texas Republican hierarchy emerging to challenge U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz for the party’s nomination in 2018, a Houston energy attorney is stepping forward.
Stefano de Stefano, who bills himself as a jilted voter and “free market Republican,” represents a challenge from the center of the Republican firmament, a demographic that has felt increasingly left out of the state’s GOP.
“I have every citizen’s chance in a democracy, although it doesn’t hurt than I’m running against one of the most ineffective legislators in the Senate,” de Stefano said in a statement. “There are millions of jilted voters like me across Texas. I believe, like many of my friends and colleagues, that we’d be better off with a Senator with the experience of negotiating million dollar deals in Texas’ energy industry over someone like Cruz.”
De Stefano, who supported Cruz in his 2012 Senate run, is now taking aim at the former presidential candidate as a national show horse rather than a Texas work horse. He says he will offer a “reasonable method of leadership” over an “extreme one.”
A Cruz spokeswoman declined to comment on de Stefano’s run Wednesday.
De Stefano cites Cruz’s role in the 2013 government shutdown over funding for the Affordable Care Act and what he calls a history of promoting his personal brand over Texas interests.
You can see his website here. I seriously doubt he gets any traction, but there are a few things worth watching. Does he raise any money? Does he echo any criticisms of Cruz that Beto O’Rourke makes? Does he fall in line behind Cruz after he loses the primary or does he continue to criticize him? How high a percentage does he need to get in order for Cruz’s win to be described as “disappointing” or “underwhelming”? I’ll suggest a Cruz score below 80% might get those adjectives, and anything below 70% definitely will. As for the rest, we’ll see. Texas Monthly has more.