Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX), whose district includes NASA’s Johnson Space Center, surprised many late Monday when he announced he would challenge incumbent Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) in next year’s Republican primary. Stockman is considered a long shot to unseat Cornyn—he has just $32,000 in the bank for his campaign, versus $7 million for Cornyn—but his decision does give Cornyn more serious, and more conservative, competition than previously expected.
The decision also means that Stockman won’t be running for reelection for his House seat. Stockman, in his brief time back in Washington (he served a term in Congress in the mid-1990s) he’s served on the House Science Committee and been active on space issues, but has been better known—or, perhaps, infamous—for controversial positions, such as calling for the President’s impeachment. Roll Call reports five Republicans have filed to run for Stockman’s seat, including Chuck Meyer, who advocated for “Space Bonds” to fund NASA’s human spaceflight program during his unsuccessful 2012 campaign for the seat. Thanks to election outcomes and redistricting, JSC has been represented in recent years by Tom DeLay, Nick Lampson, Pete Olson, and, currently, Steve Stockman; by January 2015, another person will have that distinction.