by Cathaleen Qiao Chen
The race to replace U.S Rep. Steve Stockman in Congressional District 36 is a battle of geographical allegiance between supporters of the two Republican candidates headed to the May 27 runoff: Brian Babin of southeast Texas and Ben Streusand of suburban Houston.
Stockman, R-Friendswood, gave up a prospective third term in the U.S. House to launch a failed bid for Senate against Republican incumbent John Cornyn. Twelve Republican candidates vied to replace Stockman in the March primary. The top two vote-getters were Babin, a dentist and former mayor of Woodville, and Streusand, a former mortgage banker favored by some Tea Party groups. Babin led with 33 percent of the vote followed by Streusand, who received 23 percent.
Stockman spokesman Donny Ferguson said the incumbent congressman has not endorsed either candidate, one of whom will face off against Democrat Michael Cole in the November general election.
CD-36 stretches from southeast Houston to the rural East Texas counties of Newton, Jasper, Tyler, Polk, Orange and Hardin.
“This district really has two separate faces,” said Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University in Houston. “In many ways, they’re equally conservative. This is just more of a Houston vs. East Texas fight.” Continue reading here.