John Cornyn Is Running Against a Racist, a Turtle-Hater, and a Non-Voter

The people challenging Sen. John Cornyn in the Republican primary next month include: a guy who calls immigrants "wetbacks," a guy who compared Mitch McConnell to a cartoon turtle, and Steve Stockman.

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The people challenging Senate Minority Leader John Cornyn in the Texas Republican primary next month include: a guy who defends calling immigrants "wetbacks," a guy known for comparing Sen. Mitch McConnell to a cartoon turtle, and a House member who never votes in primaries. This is why Cornyn is polling above 60 percent, despite having a half dozen challengers.

Let's meet some of them!

Chris Mapp

Mapp and Sen. Ted Cruz, via Facebook

Current occupation: Boat salesman
Polling at: 3 percent

Earlier this month, the Dallas Morning News declined to endorse Mapp, probably in part due to his lack of experience in politics. But also because he talked to them.

Mapp, 53, told this editorial board that ranchers should be allowed to shoot on sight anyone illegally crossing the border on to their land, referred to such people as “wetbacks,” and called the president a “socialist son of a bitch.”

This was while he was seeking endorsement. If you were not aware, the term "wetback" is a racial slur against Mexicans. He later explained that using the term is as "normal as breathing air in South Texas."

He also clarified his positions on his campaign website, as the Dallas Observer noted. He's not anti-immigrant, he just wants "good citizens."

The term good citizen means earning your own way, paying taxes, No entitlements, No food stamps, NO FREE HEATH CARE, NO HAVING NUMEROUS NEW BORNS TO COLLECT MORE WELFARE, no free housing, no obama phones, and no right to vote for the first three years. … What that means to Americans who were born here is, "GET OFF YOUR DEAD ASS AND GET TO WORK!"

Emphasis in the original.

Update: The headline here says it all. "GOPer Doubles Down On 'Wetbacks' But Backpedals On 'Shoot On Sight'."

Dwayne Stovall

Current occupation: Bridge construction
Polling at: 5 percent

Stovall made this ad, ostensibly meant as a direct message to Cornyn.
As a U.S. Senator from Texas, you vote for Texas. You don't stab her in the back by voting for cloture on Obamacare. You don't enslave its children with unconstitutional laws and overwhelming debt. And you certainly don't do all this to please some guy that looks and fights like a turtle.

Then his dog chimes in: "I like turtle soup."

For what it's worth, he is up 2 points on the guy who wants to murder people crossing the border illegally.

Steve Stockman

Stockman for Senate webpage

Current occupation: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
Polling at: 16 percent

We've been following the weird, lazy Stockman campaign for months. He has done few if any campaign appearances, hasn't raised any money, and suddenly and without announcement took off for the Middle East and Europe for a week. He's filed lawsuits against Cornyn, Photoshopped an image of Cornyn with Obama, denied stories about a past arrest that he'd admitted openly for years, and accused a reporter of lying who obviously wasn't.

And now we toss two more logs onto the fire.

The Dallas Morning News reports that Stockman, who continues to apparently believe that he can beat Cornyn if the race goes to a run-off (triggered if no one gets 50 percent of the vote), hasn't voted in any primary elections himself in a decade. Not even for his alleged political hero Ted Cruz in 2010.

Stockman hasn’t voted in a Republican primary in Texas since 2004, according to the conservative Washington Examiner. That would mean Stockman didn’t even vote for himself in the 2012 primary. That’s not something you see every day in politics.

But at least Stockman appears to be finally actually campaigning in Texas. Slate's Dave Weigel, who spent last week tracking the races in the state, reported on Monday that an obviously pro-Stockman mailer had been sent to some voters in the state. But instead of being a regular piece of campaign mail, it looks like a newspaper.

It outlines all of the ways in which Cornyn is bad, including a scorecard comparing Stockman and Cornyn, and then has a number of questionable headlines about Stockman's legislative accomplishments. Did you know that a Stockman bill overturned Roe v. Wade? Well, it did.

Stockman's camp denies that it's behind the newspaper, perhaps because if it were it would be walking pretty close to the edge on campaign finance laws. The paper is called The Conservative News, and claims to be "a print version of the online Conservative News, available for download at" And sure enough, it is. So far, only one issue of the paper is available at the site. It is the one for Texas.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.