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Steve Stockman's 12 Percent Solution

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Only 4 of 31 Texas U.S. Senate candidacies by sitting or ex-U.S. Representatives have been successful in the direct election era

stevestockman10.jpgRepublican U.S. Representative Steve Stockman's 11th hour decision to launch a 2014 primary challenge against Texas U.S. Senator John Cornyn made more than a few jaws drop in Washington and the Lone Star State this week.

The candidacy of Stockman, one of the most outspoken Republican members of the 113th Congress, has been largely characterized as doomed from the start given his late entrance into the race (the primary is on March 4th), his relative lack of funds vis-à-vis Cornyn (the Senate's Minority Whip), as well as the trail of eyebrow-raising statements he has delivered while in office this year.

Stockman is in his second, nonconsecutive term (previously serving from 1995 to 1997) and is seeking to become just the fifth Texan to win election to the chamber as a sitting or former member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Nearly seven times as many have failed.

A Smart Politics analysis finds that just four of 31 sitting or ex-Texas U.S. Representatives running for the U.S. Senate have been victorious during the direct election era, or 12.9 percent.

Over the last century since the passage of the 17th Amendment, only the following Texas U.S. Representatives were elected to the nation's upper legislative chamber:

· Six-term Democrat Tom Connally in 1928
· Six-term Democrat Lyndon Johnson in 1948
· Former four-term Democrat Lloyd Bentsen in 1970
· Three-term Democrat-turned-Republican Phil Gramm in 1984

Two of these candidates - Connally and Bentsen - did what Stockman is attempting to do: knock out an incumbent during the primary election (Democrats Earle Mayfield in 1928 and Ralph Yarborough in 1970).

(Note: Former two-term Democrat Robert Krueger was appointed to Bentsen's seat in 1993 after two previous failed campaigns).

During this 100-year span, sitting or former Texas U.S. Representatives have run for the U.S. Senate and failed on 27 other occasions including at least one attempt each decade:

· One in the 1910s: Democrat Robert Henry (1916)
· Four in the 1920s: Democrats Robert Henry (1922, 1928), Atkins McLemore (1828), and Thomas Blanton (1928)
· Two in the 1930s: Democrats Robert Henry (1930) and Joseph Bailey, Jr. (1934)
· Two in the 1940s: Democrats Lyndon Johnson (1941) and Martin Dies, Jr. (1941)
· Two in the 1950s: Democrats Lindley Beckworth (1952) and Martin Dies, Jr. (1957)
· One in the 1960s: Democrat James Wright (1961)
· Three in the 1970s: Republicans George H.W. Bush (1970) and Alan Steelman (1976) and Democrat Robert Krueger (1978)
· Five in the 1980s: Republicans James Collins (1982), Ron Paul (1984), and Beau Boulter (1988) and Democrats Kent Hance and Robert Krueger (1984)
· Six in the 1990s: Republican Joe Barton (1993) and Democrats Jack Fields (1993), Jim Mattox (1994), Mike Andrews (1994), John Bryant (1996), and Jim Chapman (1996)
· One in the 2000s: Democrat Ken Bentsen (2002)

Prior to the passage of the 17th Amendment, four ex- or sitting U.S. Representatives were elected to the Senate from Texas: Democrats John Reagan in 1886, Roger Mills in 1892, Joseph Bailey in 1900, and Morris Shepherd in 1913 (Shepherd was later reelected by popular vote in 1918, 1924, 1930, and 1936).

Representative Stockman is just one of seven Republican challengers taking on Cornyn this cycle, although he is the only officeholder.

The rest of the March 2014 GOP primary field includes Curt Cleaver, Ken Cope, Chris Mapp, Reid Reasor, Dwayne Stovall, and Linda Vega.

Texas U.S. Senate Candidacies by Sitting or Former U.S. Representatives, 1914-Present

Year
US Representative
Party
Terms*
Outcome
1916
Robert Henry
Democrat
10
Lost nomination
1922
Robert Henry
Democrat
10
Lost nomination
1928
Atkins McLemore
Democrat
2
Lost nomination
1928
Robert Henry
Democrat
10
Lost nomination
1928
Thomas Blanton
Democrat
6
Lost nomination
1928
Tom Connally
Democrat
6
Won
1930
Robert Henry
Democrat
10
Lost nomination
1934
Joseph Bailey, Jr.
Democrat
1
Lost nomination
1941
Lyndon Johnson
Democrat
3
Lost special
1941
Martin Dies, Jr.
Democrat
6
Lost special
1948
Lyndon Johnson
Democrat
6
Won
1952
Lindley Beckworth
Democrat
7
Lost nomination
1957
Martin Dies, Jr.
Democrat
10
Lost special
1961
James Wright
Democrat
4
Lost special
1970
George H.W. Bush
Republican
2
Lost general
1970
Lloyd Bentsen
Democrat
4
Won
1976
Alan Steelman
Republican
2
Lost general
1978
Robert Krueger
Democrat
2
Lost general
1982
James Collins
Republican
8
Lost general
1984
Kent Hance
Democrat
3
Lost nomination
1984
Phil Gramm
Republican
3
Won
1984
Robert Krueger
Democrat
2
Lost nomination
1984
Ron Paul
Republican
4
Lost nomination
1988
Beau Boulter
Republican
2
Lost general
1993
Jack Fields
Democrat
7
Lost special
1993
Joe Barton
Republican
5
Lost special
1994
Jim Mattox
Democrat
3
Lost nomination
1994
Mike Andrews
Democrat
6
Lost nomination
1996
Jim Chapman
Democrat
6
Lost nomination
1996
John Bryant
Democrat
7
Lost nomination
2002
Kenneth Bentsen
Democrat
4
Lost nomination
* Denotes number of terms served in the U.S. House at the time of the U.S. Senate candidacy. Table compiled by Smart Politics.

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