The 2022 election isn’t over yet, but Texas Republican Rep. Ronny Jackson is eyeing a chance to mount a primary challenge to GOP Sen. John Cornyn in 2026.
That’s according to the Texas Tribune, which reports that Jackson has begun running ads in Spanish as he seeks to appeal to the state’s ever-growing Latino population, even though his district is predominantly white and heavily Republican.
When asked by CNN Melania Zanona As for the possibility of challenging Cornyn in four years, Jackson was careful not to rule it out. He said he was “open to anything” and would consider a race against someone who he didn’t think was “pulling his weight.”
All of which begs a simple question: Could Jackson really win?
Jackson, as you probably know, was the White House physician under Donald Trump. He attributed Trump’s good health to “awesome genes” despite Trump’s good health despite a diet full of gas and fast food.
Jackson was so close to Trump that the then-president nominated Jackson, a retired Navy rear admiral, to head the Department of Veterans Affairs. Jackson eventually withdrew his appointment after he was accused of being “excessive” with co-workers, liberally handling prescription drugs and occasionally becoming intoxicated. Jackson said the allegations were “absolutely false and fabricated.”
Jackson eventually decided to run for Congress in Texas’ 13th district. With Trump’s backing, Jackson won the GOP primary in July 2020 and easily won the seat in the general election.
In Congress, Jackson has been one of Trump’s staunchest defenders and has supported false claims in the 2020 election. Jackson drew headlines when he suggested that last year’s micron surge was the “MEV – Midterm Election Variation.”
Cornyn, on the other hand, is one of the establishments of the party. He is close to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and has spent years in the Republican leadership.
And there’s no doubt that Cornyn took a political hit among the Republican base earlier this year when he helped shepherd a bipartisan gun safety measure through the Senate in the wake of the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting. Corny was also booed at the Texas GOP convention in June.
That said, Cornyn is a terrible politician. He’s not one to be caught off guard, and with Jackson giving him four years notice of a potential first run, it gives Cornyn plenty of time to prepare.
point: Given how dominant Trump is within the Republican Party, Cornyn would do well not to underestimate Jackson’s potential threat.