Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, would like voters to "reach their own conclusions" about his Republican primary challenger's recent whereabouts.
On Tuesday, Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, who launched his Senate campaign last month on the filing deadline, resurfaced on Capitol Hill after he "mysteriously disappeared from public view nearly two weeks ago," according to the Dallas Morning News. Multiple Texas-based outlets reported that Stockman said he was on a Congressionally-sanctioned trip to Israel, Egypt, Russia and the United Kingdom. But the lawmaker, who is serving his second one-term stint in the House, was gone longer than other colleagues who made the trip. He ended up missing 17 House votes.
"I have seven opponents in the primary, and I know while some people find him the most fascinating one, I don't really want to treat any of them differently from each other," Cornyn told CQ Roll Call. "And so I don't really have a comment particularly. I'll let people reach their own conclusions." In almost a month, Cornyn will face off against Stockman and several other lesser-known foes. Despite entering the cycle as one of the most vulnerable to a primary challenge, Cornyn's strong fundraising edge, lack of a top-tier opponent and disinterest in the race by conservative outside groups have made the second-term incumbent a solid favorite for re-election.
When asked about Stockman's return this week after a long break, Cornyn let out a few "hmmm"s before saying, "That's what I read."
Stockman explained his prolonged absence to conservative outlet Breitbart News by writing, “I don’t have a zillion dollars like Cornyn and have [to] campaign.”
CQ Roll Call then asked Cornyn whether Stockman's behavior was appropriate and if he believed it's possible to both campaign and serve in office simultaneously.
"Sure. Sure it is," said Cornyn, the Senate minority whip.
The Texas primary is March 4. If necessary, a runoff will be held May 27.