Dec. 11--AUSTIN -- Two last-minute additions to the Republican Primary should make next year's congressional races more interesting.
Former U.S. Rep. Francisco "Quico" Canseco of San Antonio has thrown his hat into the ring for the District 23 congressional seat currently occupied by Rep. Pete Gallego, a Democrat.
Steve Stockman, a Houston area congressman and a favorite of the tea party, will vie for the U.S. Senate seat occupied by Sen. John Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the chamber.
Canseco is seeking to again represent the congressional district that spans the greatest area in the United States. It stretches from San Antonio down to the Mexican border and west to El Paso County's Lower Valley.
In 2010, Canseco beat then-Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, a Democrat, but last year he lost to Gallego, an Alpine resident who is a veteran of the Texas House of Representatives. El Paso County voters helped tip the balance in Gallego's favor last year.
The District 23 seat is considered Texas' most competitive and two other Republicans have filed to run in the primary -- Robert Lowry, a San Antonio physician, and Will Hurd, a former CIA officer who was edged out by Canseco in the 2010 primary.
Despite his status as a former congressman, Canseco's fund-raising thus far has been soft, the congressional newspaper Roll Call reported last month.
In what was perhaps Monday's biggest surprise, Stockman told the conservative website World Net Daily that he filed to run for Cornyn's seat just minutes before the 6 p.m. deadline. He joins seven others in the GOP Primary, but as a sitting congressman, is regarded as Cornyn's most credible challenger.
Stockman will try to repeat the success of Ted Cruz, Texas' junior senator, who last year ran to the right of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and beat him in the primary.
Stockman faces a tough fight.
He has far less money than Cornyn and just after Stockman announced his candidacy, the conservative Club for Growth said it would not support Stockman in the primary. Also, the Texas Tribune reported Tuesday that Cornyn still has Gov. Rick Perry's staunch support.
Stockman returned to Congress last year after a 16-year hiatus. When he did, the Houston Chronicle reported, he violated several ethics rules by not making proper financial disclosures.
Stockman's earlier tenure, during the mid-1990s, also was controversial. In February 1996, Texas Monthly wrote a profile of him titled "Congressman Clueless."
El Pasoan Maxey Scherr hopes to face the winner of the GOP primary in next year's general election.
She first must beat four Democrats in the March Primary. Two of those candidates might not pose much of a challenge.
Kesha Rogers of Houston has called for President Barack Obama's impeachment and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, according to the Dallas Morning News. Michael Fjetland, also of Houston, ran unsuccessfully in three GOP primaries against former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay before filing this year in the Democratic Senate Primary.
Marty Schladen may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 512-479-6606.
(c)2013 the El Paso Times (El Paso, Texas)
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Republicans enter Texas congressional primaries
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