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Fight To Prove Conservative Purity Turns Into Smear Contest

Updated: Tuesday, December 10 2013, 11:28 AM CST

A fight to prove conservative purity has quickly turned into a mud-slinging smear contest.

Less than one day after his surprise entry into the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Texas, Rep. Steve Stockman has launched a withering blast of invective against his chief opponent, incumbent Sen. John Cornyn.

Announcing his run on his campaign website, Stockman writes to supporters, "You and I are in a foxhole fighting to save this constitutional Republic, but liberal John Cornyn is bayoneting us in the back … Liberal John Cornyn betrayed Ted Cruz and worked with Harry Reid to fund Obamacare."

In fact, in the nearly 200-word statement, Stockman refers to "liberal John Cornyn" a full five times.

Cornyn himself has stayed mum on his social media channels about the upstart challenge leaving the knife fight to his spokesman, Drew Brandewie. Soon after Stockman's announcement Monday evening, Brandewie took to Twitter to unleash of a fusillade of stinging jabs, many packed with attributions from major news outlets.

"Stockman was perhaps best known for accusing the U.S. gov of 'executing' members of the Branch Davidian cult after the siege near Waco," Brandewie posted, paraphrasing a line from an Associated Press article coverng Stockman's announcement and referring to his first stint in Congress in the 1990s.

And in what could be a twist on Stockman's "Liberal John Cornyn" dig, Brandewie used similar language with a twist of irony to highlight the East Texas Republican's financial troubles.

"Fiscal conservative Rep. Stockman's campaign is $163,000 in debt," read one tweet. Another one quickly followed: "Fiscal conservative Rep. Steve Stockman has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy."

Stockman's biggest vulnerability is his bank account, all mud-slinging aside. With less than three months before the March 4 primary, his campaign is starting out six figures in the red compared to Cornyn's $7 million war chest. That's a major handicap to an outspoken candidate trying to reach voters in an expansive state where talk doesn't come cheap.

Fight To Prove Conservative Purity Turns Into Smear Contest


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