Texas GOP Forced to Extend Filing Deadline to Replace Steve Stockman in CD-36

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Grab your popcorn folks because the next 3 months are going to be fun to watch. Pursuant to Section 172.054 of the Texas Election Code the Republican Party of Texas is being forced to reopen the filing for the 36th Congressional District in Southeast Texas. The rule extends the filing deadline until Monday, December 16th, at 6 p.m but only for the party whose candidate withdrew.

That may seem unfair, but with 6 Republicans already in the race, you probably won't hear the lone Democrat Michael Cole complaining. On the flip-side for Democrats, the law also prevents someone who has filed for another office from making a switch. That would include Republican Incumbent State Representative James White who was rumored to being eyeing the switch.

With a wide open field it will be interesting to see how this race shapes up. So far no one has emerged as the immediate front-runner but there appears to be at least 2 proxy candidates, each backed by a different member of Congress. But, a better question may be why did Stockman switch in the first place?

Click below the jump to read the election code and see who is behind who in the race for CD-36…

According to the Texas Tribune the word about Stockman's switch began to spread after he starting mulling the decision Friday afternoon. One of those who got the early tipoff is the husband of one of Stockman's Congressional staffers, Dave Norman. Norman told the Tribune that Stockman encouraged him to run for the open seat. Another candidate, Doug Centilli, the now former Chief of Staff for Congressman Kevin Brady said he wouldn't have filed, “without Rep. Brady's blessing.” Those sound like endorsements to me.

The bigger endorsement question though, lies in whether Ted Cruz will endorse John Cornyn or lend support by silence to his Defender-in-Chief Steve Stockman.

When asked if he thought he could beat Cornyn, Stockman answered, “I don't know that I can beat him, but I am sure going to try.” That's not a confident answer from someone leaving a mildly contested reelection bid to Congress for the uphill battle against a well-funded establishment incumbent. So why did he make the switch?

Well, if you believe Stockman and his defense of Ted Cruz it's because Cornyn has been, “stabbing fellow Republicans in the back.” We all know Cruz faced a similar battle to get to the Senate himself, but Stockman is no Cruz, and Cruz didn't have to give up a seat in Congress. Considering the brashness of the decision it is more likely this could be the easiest way for Stockman to disappear politically and distract from his ethics and campaign finance troubles that are catching up with him. Remember in 2006 when Tom Delay tried to remove his name from the ballot because he was under indictment? Coincidentally, the same Democrat who beat Delay in 2006 also replaced Stockman after only one term in 1996, Nick Lampson. Now, only time and the voters of CD-36 will tell if a Democrat can pull it off again.  

Below is the applicable section of the election code that made this circus possible:

Sec. 172.054. EXTENDED FILING DEADLINE. (a) The deadline for filing an application for a place on the general primary election ballot is extended as provided by this section if a candidate who has made an application that complies with the applicable requirements:

(2) holds the office for which the application was made and withdraws or is declared ineligible on or after the date of the regular filing deadline and on or before the 79th day before general primary election day; or…

(c) An extension of the filing deadline under this section applies only to the primary election of the political party for which the withdrawn, deceased, or ineligible candidate applied for a place on the ballot.

You can follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.


About Author

Joe Deshotel

Joe was born and raised in Beaumont, Tx, but live music and politics brought him to Austin. He has worked in and around government and elections for over a decade including for a member of US Congress, the Texas Legislature, the Mayor of Austin. He currently serves as Communications Director for the Travis County Democratic Party. He is most interested in transportation, energy and technology issues. He also likes Texas Hold'em and commuting on his electric skateboard. Follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.

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