John Cornyn Hires a Tea Party Campaign Manager

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 11 2013 12:35 PM

John Cornyn Hires a Tea Party Campaign Manager

170340165
John Cornyn, left, and Mitch McConnell have both turned to Tea Party gurus to stave off attacks from the right.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Both the minority leader and the minority whip of the U.S. Senate are up for re-election next year. Mitch McConnell's campaign is managed by Jesse Benton, who cut his teeth on the 2008 and 2012 Ron Paul for president campaigns and the 2010 Rand Paul for Senate campaign. Accordingly, McConnell has worked like the devil to avoid being outflanked on the right.

And so John Cornyn, the whip, has just announced his campaign manager. Brendan Steinhauser, the new pick, was FreedomWorks' director of state campaigns from the start of the Tea Party movement through the end of 2012, when a famous split drove FreedomWorks' current leadership away from Dick Armey, its famous chairman. Steinhauser was the guy who hotfooted it down to swing states to organize in Senate races. He helped when the movement took out Sen. Bob Bennett; as Cornyn points out, he "led the group's effort to elect Ted Cruz to the Senate in 2012." (Inside FreedomWorks it wasn't always obvious that Cruz's was the race to get involved with. Steinhauser, a native Texan, disagreed.)

Nothing new here, really, but it's yet more evidence of the outside swallowing up what was inside. Cornyn's hope is that the new OFA-spawned "Battleground Texas," and its data-driven effort to drive up Hispanic turnout and blueify the state, can be outwitted by the Tea Party movement—though the Tea Party was at its vote-getting-est in 2010, when minority turnout swooned.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Lifetime Didn’t Find the Steubenville Rape Case Dramatic Enough, So They Added Self-Immolation

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 3:07 PM Everything Is a "Women's Issue"
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 5:03 PM White House Chief Information Officer Will Run U.S. Ebola Response
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.