The Insider

But now the fickle Stockman has set a new political goal in life: a seat on the Texas Railroad Commission. A Republican colleague slipped the word to Nick Lampson, the Democrat who ousted Stockman last year, that he can now rest easy, since Stockman has established a fundraising committee, Stockman for State Wide Office, and won't be taking on Lampson in the 9th Congressional District.

One supporter, oil and gas publications publisher Janis Jamiesen-Johnson, is circulating a letter for Stockman claiming that polls show him easily beating Republican primary opponents for the Railroad Commission seat being vacated by Barry Williamson, who's running for state comptroller. "We followed Congressman Stockman's distinguished career, and saw how he fought for us and was a friend of the oil and gas industry," gushes Jamiesen-Johnson. "Because Steve fought for us in Congress, environmental extremists targeted him for defeat. Now I am asking you to stand with him."

Jamiesen-Johnson then exhorts the faithful to send checks to our favorite political home away from home, the Stockman abode at 2402 Whitman Way just outside of Friendswood.

Meanwhile, another familiar name has reared his fuzzy head again: Stockman crony Chris Cupit, whose Political Won Stop received a mother lode of the congressman's campaign cash while headquartered at 2402 Whitman Way. Cupit has fashioned a five-page computer-generated letter -- complete with fake handwriting script -- that tells us the true story of his hero, "an independent thinker with conviction, who always voted to do what was right."

Cupit also offers this revisionist history of the pivotal showdown between President Clinton and the GOP majority. "You may remember the winter of 1995-1996 when Bill Clinton shut down the government and the Republicans got all the blame." That's not quite what we remember, but after all, this is the world according to a Stockmanite. Continues Cupit: "What really happened was that Bill Clinton wanted to take a 'diplomatic' trip to Japan and he selfishly needed the government open before he could travel. So, he asked the Republicans to pass yet another bill to temporarily reopen the government for a few weeks so he could travel at taxpayer expense."

Stockman, notes Cupit, was only one of three conservatives to vote against reopening the government. According to Cupit, the decision to reopen the government led to the resurgence of Clinton and his re-election. Concludes Cupit: "I honestly believe that if Steve Stockman's advice had been followed, Bill Clinton would not have made the incredible political recovery that rehabilitated his career."

Now it can be told: If only party leaders had listened to Steve Stockman, Bob Dole would be sitting in the White House today.

But never fear, says Cupit, it's not too late to elect Stevie Stockman to some office. "I believe Steve is willing to run," confides Cupit, "but he is hesitant, being an accountant, in that he first wants to pay off the bills from this last election. And to pay off the bills, he needs your help. A gift of $1,000, $500 or $250 would be magnificent."

And so it begins again.

A Bite with Sly
Sighted at a side table at Irma's last week were none other than mayoral candidate Rob Mosbacher and state Representative Sylvester Turner, who recently summoned the media to his law office to announce that he wouldn't be a candidate in this year's contest. According to campaign sources, Mosbacher invited Turner to lunch to discuss his issues in the race, including improving public education. Turner, you may recall, used his press conference swan song to twit candidates who seemed, according to Sly, to be running for HISD superintendent rather than mayor.

No word on any long-range fallout from the lunch, though more than a few observers are betting Turner will eventually support anybody but Lee Brown for mayor. The Brown campaign, after all, has become a class reunion of all the Lanier operatives who helped defeat Turner in 1991.

"Sylvester's sort of the Mike Tyson of Houston politics," chuckles one former associate. "He's so vindictive he'd do anything to sabotage Lee Brown."

Turner later told a radio interviewer he plans chow-downs with other mayoral contenders, including a lunch with Helen Huey and maybe even breakfast with Brown. In that case, the ex-chief best watch his ears.

So Nice to See You Again...
University of Houston alum Jorge Rangel, now a Corpus Christi lawyer, is the prime contender for the presidential nomination to an opening on the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Unfortunately for Rangel, who is currently undergoing an FBI background check, a little bit of past history may trip him on the way to the federal bench.

As a member of an American Bar Association screening board prior to 1994, Rangel had been particularly critical of the nomination of Jeff Sessions, a former U.S. Attorney in Alabama under consideration for a federal bench. Sessions had earned the ire of Democrats for leading a Republican effort in the state to prosecute African-American civil rights leaders for ballot fraud, a move seen as an attempt to intimidate blacks and hold down Democratic turnout at the polls. Sessions, the son of former FBI director William Sessions, did not receive the appointment, but went on to win election to the U.S. Senate. He's now a member of the Judiciary Committee, which votes on judicial appointments, including the one for which Rangel is in line. According to our sources, Sessions is gunning for Rangel as a result of that past encounter, and he may have help from Texas Senator Phil Gramm, who also remembers Rangel's criticism of some of his judicial recommendations under Republican administrations.

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