Washington Bureau

02.18.14

Tea Party Candidate In Texas Makes Viral "Turtle Soup" Campaign Ad

U.S. Senate candidate Dwayne Stovall has gotten attention in his longshot bid to defeat incumbent Sen. John Cornyn with an ad comparing Mitch McConnell to a turtle.

Dwayne Stovall regrets he didn’t start talking about turtle soup earlier.

Stovall is a Tea Party conservative running for Senate in Texas’s Republican primary against incumbent John Cornyn as well as Rep. Steve Stockman. Stovall brags about his grassroots campaign with 1100 volunteers and his track record in straw polls but he wasn’t registering nationally until last week when a quirky campaign ad went viral.

The ad features Stovall sitting on the back of a white pickup truck with his dog in the bed of the truck and a shotgun leaning against it, slamming John Cornyn for taking votes on cloture for Obamacare and to increase the debt in order “to please a guy who looks and fights like a turtle.” The commercial then shifts to a split screen of a cartoon turtle and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Stovall then proclaims, “I’m a Texan. We Texans don’t need Beltway turtles telling us how to fight.” Then, Stovall’s dog turns and proclaims “I like turtle soup” as the Senate candidate says “really?” and laughs.

Stovall told The Daily Beast that he never planned to release that ad,” I was not going to do that, not my style.” He was filming other television spots in January and his campaign manager and the producer wanted to do the turtle soup spot. Eventually, Stovall acquiesced to filming it but insisted it would “never see the light of day.”

Then, after Cornyn and McConnell provided the pivotal votes for cloture to end debate on raising the debt ceiling last week, Stovall changed his mind, “it had a visceral effect on me . . I was so mad about it . . .and just said release [the video].

Stovall seemed somewhat disappointed that it took the video to get him national attention instead of his ongoing concerns about the national debt. In his opinion, we are “enslaving ourselves with of this debt. There’s an elite class of political people and they create our debt, expand size and scope of government and encroach on our freedoms everyday.”

He was convinced that if he faced Cornyn one on one in a runoff, he’d trounce the incumbent Senator. After all, Stovall said “If I had the money that Cornyn had, I’d destroy him in a primary.” But the political hopeful doesn’t have that money and needs to hold Cornyn under 50% while finishing second in March 4th’s GOP primary for a solo matchup against the Senate Minority Whip.

In the meantime, Stovall has learned some political lessons in light of his turtle soup success. In his opinion, “If that’s what it takes to get people to come to the table and talk about some real issues” than he’s willing to adjust his campaign accordingly. 

Video screenshot