John Cornyn Says His Opponent's Win-by-Not-Campaigning Strategy Is “Unique”

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 18 2014 7:08 PM

John Cornyn Says His Opponent's Win-by-Not-Campaigning Strategy Is “Unique”

HOUSTON—Early voting in Texas' party primaries commenced today and ends on March 4. Sen. John Cornyn, who is facing seven challengers (none of whom he's debated at voter forums), started the day with an endorsement from the National Federation of Independent Business, a roundtable, and a short press conference.* His debt limit vote, litigated in newspaper interviews last week, did not come up. But he was asked about the attacks from two rivals, Rep. Steve Stockman and businessman Dwayne Stovall, on Cornyn's weekend rally with Karl Rove.

"The truth is, you know, Karl’s not involved in my campaign apart from appearing as a guest at one event in Longview," said Cornyn. "He’s been a friend of mine a long time. But I’d say those are strawmen [issues]. I’d say the most important thing is my record, and my record, I’m very proud of. I’d say my values and my record reflect the sentiments of the people I work for, which is 26 million Texans. By any objective measure, I’m a conservative."

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Some more verbiage about conservatism followed, and Cornyn was asked what he made of Stockman's campaign. The congressman filed to run at the last minute; he had not, since then, gone on the air or held many public appearances.

"You know, I haven’t seen him since he filed for office," said Cornyn. "He hasn’t appeared at any public events. I’ve been going to a number of those, including the Galveston Lincoln Day dinner on Saturday. I’ll be [in] Brazoria County on Saturday. I’m doing a number of events in Lubbock, Abilene. I’ve been in Longview, all around the state, and I just haven’t run into any of my primary opponents."

Why was Stockman doing it? "It does strike me as a unique strategy," said Cornyn, raising his eyebrow a few millimeters, "but we’ll find out here in just a few days, on March 4, what kind of impact it has."

*I've been following around Cornyn and other candidates for a piece that will run early tomorrow. Just keep refreshing the main page and clicking on ads.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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