Congressman Steve Stockman's (R) last minute kamikaze run against incumbent Senator John Cornyn (R) could not have been predicted by anyone; but happen it did. Because of a little known rule in the Texas Election Code, the filing period was extended to allow for new candidates to run for Texas' 36th congressional district (CD-36).
There are two exceptions, however; first only Republicans could file in the extended period and, second, candidates who have already filed for a 2014 office could not refile for CD-36. State Rep. James White (R) and State Board of Education Member David Bradley (R) were notably disappointed they wold not be given the option to carry on Rep. Stockman's legacy. Rep. White released a statement saying:
"It is unfortunate that Congressman Stockman and some Washington insiders have decided to do D.C.-style power politics and inject them into southeast Texas."
This is the only open-seat race for the US Congress in Texas for 2014. It has attracted an understandably large field of Republicans in this 25.66% Obama district. With a dozen political neophytes and political rejects running for the seat in the Republican primary, who has the right amount of crazy to carry on the legacy of the 36th congressional seat's only representative to date?
After the jump, we will lay out the profiles of all twelve Republicans running to carry on the crazy legacy of Congressman Steve Stockman.
|Before listing the candidates, let me lay out a quick geography of CD-36; While most of the land area covers several East Texas counties, including Hardin, Liberty, and Polk; the population is almost evenly split between East Texas and Southeast Harris County suburbs which includes Clear Lake and the Johnson Space Center as well as Baytown.
Listed in alphabetical order, the Republican candidates are:
John Amdar - Amdar is an Houston attorney. He is also a Councilman in Nassau Bay, a small city that is part of the Clear Lake suburbs. Amdur filed during the normal filing period.
Brian Babin - Babin not only has run for congress before, he has been the Republican nominee before. It was all the way back in 1996 when Rep. Charlie Wilson (D) retired from Congressl Babin lost by 52% - 46% to Jim Turner (D). Babin tried again in 1998 but, by a larger margin, lost the rematch. A dentist by profession, Babin was previously elected Mayor of the East Texas city, Woodville. Babin filed after the original filing period.
Doug Centilli - Centilli is getting some early buzz because of his current political connections. He was one of the lucky few to get an advance notice of Stockman's pending withdrawal and filed before the original deadline. Cenitlli is the former Chief of Staff for Congressman Kevin Brady (R) of the neighboring 8th congressional district.
Jim Engstrand - Jim Engstand is an Army Reserve Officer, Farmer, and Iraq War Veteran. He previously ran for CD-36 in 2012 where he got 9.39% for a distant 4th place. Engstrand filed after the original filing period.
Phil Fitzgerald - Ex-Liberty County Judge Fitzgerald avoided an indictment in the past, even though the feds said further investigation was necessary. He's a construction contractor by trade. Fitzgerald filed during the normal filing period.
Pat Kasprzak - "Some Dude" Kasprzak is a teacher. Kasprzak filed after the original filing period.
John Manlove - The former Mayor of Pasadena ran for congress in 2008 for CD-22 and did not even make it to the run-off; losing to Pete Olson and Shelly Sekulla-Gibbs. Manlove got 15% in 2008. Manlove currently sits on the Board of Trustees for the Port of Galveston. Manlove filed after the original filing period.
Chuck Meyer - Another congressional reject, Meyer ran for CD-36 in 2012 where he earned 3.96% of the vote, good enough for 6th place. Meyer is an attorney. Meyer filed during the normal filing period.
Kim Morrell - Morrell is another 2012 CD-36 loser; he earned 3.54% last cycle, 7th place overall. He is a former Seabrook City Councilman, a suburb of Clear Lake. Morrell filed during the normal filing period.
Dave Norman - Not every failed candidate has run for congress in the past. Insurance Agent Dave Norman ran against Larry Taylor in the Republican primary for Senate District 11 in 2012; he earned 25.25% against the sitting State Representative. Norman filed during the normal filing period.
Robin Riley - Morell may be a former Seabrook councilman, but Riley is the former Mayor of the Harris County suburb. Seabrook had just under 12,000 voters as of the 2010 census. I reccomend visiting and going to Tookie's Hamburgers if you get the chance to visit; get a Squealer, some onion rings, and a cherry coke. Anyways, Riley filed after the original filing period.
Ben Streusand - Streusand is among the most interesting candidates running. He ran for congress in 2004 for the newly redistricted CD-10, but unlike other congressional rejects he finished in first place in the eight way Republican primary with 28.15%. He went on to lose to Mike McCaul in the runoff. One can only assume Streusand has moved in the last ten years since CD-10 and CD-36 are anchored on opposite ends of Harris County. Streusand is the head of the conservative activist group Americans for Prosperity and will come with plenty of money. Watch this guy. Streusand filed after the original filing period.
The eventual winner of the Republican primary and presumed runoff will face off against Democrat Michael "MKC" Cole and either Robb Rourke or Rodney Veach who are both running for the Libertarian nomination in the November general election.
The new candidates have been added to our US Congress Candidate Tracker.
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