He was mayor of a Texas city for 37 days. Now he wants to be Missouri’s next senator

A former Texas mayor, whose tenure lasted only 37 days, appears to be running for U.S. Senate in Missouri.

Dan McQueen became mayor of Corpus Christi in December of 2016. He resigned a little more than a month later, after allegations that he had, among other matters, misrepresented his educational credentials and concealed a romantic relationship with a top aide.

McQueen briefly campaigned for Texas Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro’s seat in 2020, but he dropped out before the Republican primary. Castro won re-election in the Democratic-leaning district by more than 30 points.

The same campaign committee, McQueen for Congress, filed paperwork Monday with the Federal Election Commission indicating his intention to seek the open U.S. Senate seat in Missouri as a Republican.

Monday’s filing used two addresses, one for a P.O. Box in Jefferson City and another for a banquet hall in Corpus Christi owned by McQueen. The document was signed by Eldon Dan McQueen, the former Texas mayor’s full legal name.

Reached at a Texas phone number, McQueen initially declined to confirm that he was running in Missouri.

Forty minutes later, he sent The Star a text message from Missouri phone number, which he referred to as “the campaign phone.” He described himself as recently retired and promised future news, but did not answer more specific questions related to his plans to run in Missouri.

“Stand by,” he said.

In an email Tuesday morning, McQueen gave an overview of his career, which included service in the Navy and time working as engineer for Boeing. He said that he was “working Black Hawks for the Army when I got involved in trying to help Corpus.”

But despite his Texas ties, McQueen described himself as a Missourian and was emphatic about his connections to the state where he’s now running for Senate.

“I taught software engineering at Columbia. Missouri is my Home,” he said.

McQueen’s brief tenure as mayor of Corpus Christi was marked by a contentious relationship with the media and the city council.

“He was dictatorial and heavy-handed with fellow council members, disrespectful of their efforts to meet their obligation to keep constituents informed,” The Corpus Christi Caller-Times wrote in an editorial assessing McQueen’s short tenure.

The editorial covered McQueen’s handling of a water crisis and his decision to skip the annual state of the city address, where mayors typically lay out their agenda. McQueen was also criticized for refusing interviews to answer questions and instead waging war on his critics by social media.

McQueen published a memoir a year after his resignation titled, “37 Day Mayor: Truth – Fake News –America’s Future.” The bio on the book’s Amazon page touts McQueen’s status as a Navy combat veteran who served in the First Gulf War.

In joining the GOP primary race to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, McQueen will be competing against former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, another Navy veteran turned politician who resigned from office early amid scandal and whose tenure was marked by a combative relationship with the media and legislators.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is also seeking the nomination. More entrants are expected as multiple members of the state’s congressional delegation weigh runs.

A timeline from Texas Monthly lays out how a series of damaging reports about both McQueen’s professional and personal life preceded his abrupt resignation.

As a candidate, McQueen had touted an electrical engineering degree from Florida State University. But NBC affiliate KRS-TV reported that the university had no record of anyone with McQueen’s name and birth date attaining that degree.

Days later, the station reported that McQueen had been sued by a San Antonio shopping center for breaking the lease for a karate school and still owed a $25,000 lien, a bad look for a candidate running on his business acumen.

The same week the station also reported that McQueen had shared the same address with his chief of staff until through shortly before he took office.

McQueen’s estranged son and former campaign treasurer alleged that the pair were romantically involved, which raised concerns he had violated a rule forbidding city employees from hiring domestic partners without disclosing the relationship and obtaining approval from the city manager.

In Tuesday emails, McQueen referred to the stories as “trash” and the local reporters as “bad actors.”

The station also unearthed for a Kickstarter video McQueen had produced in 2012 support of a proposed documentary that was intended to discourage people from giving money to certain homeless people.

“Watch as they learn the streets. Drinking — a blunt, smoking of dope on the city streets right outside of city hall,” McQueen said in the video, which featured him doing a karate chop, according to the Texas Tribune.

The Star’s Jeanne Kuang contributed to this report.