The first term of one of Texas' incumbent U.S. Senators, Republican John Cornyn, ends in 2008. He will be running for re-election no doubt, but his approval rating is far from stellar, and his long record of serving as a yes-man for the Bushies may finally come back to haunt him. So who will step into this opportunity and challenge Cornyn in the name of the recently-moribund, but now showing signs of life, Democratic Party in Texas?
Right now, it looks like at least two people will be vying for that chance, though I don't think either have officially made the announcement. The two are lawyer and Democratic fundraiser Mikal Watts (his first name is pronounced like "Michael," I am told) and state Rep. Rick Noriega. Neither of them is yet widely known, but that pretty much goes for every single living Democrat in this state, unfortunately.
Watts has a web site already, which includes the following information about him:
Watts’ legal work embodies his commitment to the ideals of justice and fair play that he learned from his mother, who was a teacher and his father, who was an attorney. He also learned the value of hard work and persistence from his mother, who attended law school in Houston, while raising four school-age children in Corpus Christi. As an attorney, Watts has fought with passion and commitment for average working Texans.
Watts’ belief in American ideals such as fairness, justice, liberty and opportunity for all has led him to consider a run for the United States Senate. He believes, like most Texans, that there is a lack of real leadership and accountability in Washington and that it’s time for a change and he is committed to fighting for Texans so they will have opportunities and hope for the future.
Not much hard info there yet, but it's early.
Noriega's "pre-campaign" is being pushed heavily by a number of Texas bloggers, mostly those based in and around Houston, which is where Noriega's district is located. These bloggers have formed a "Draft Noriega," movement. And, while Noriega doesn't appear to have a website yet, the draft movement does. And it includes this info, posted by the grandfather of the Texas blogosphere, Charles Kuffner:
Noriega spent a year in Afghanistan on the front lines of the "war on terror". He's also been deployed to the Texas border to train National Guardsmen on matters of border security. What are the two biggest issues these days? John Cornyn can talk about these things. Rick Noriega has actually been there and done them.
While I don't know too much yet about either Watts or Noriega, on the surface, both appear to be excellent choices with which to replace the worse-than-useless Cornyn in the Senate. I certainly welcome a contested primary with two worthy candidates such as this. It could do wonders to continue improving the Democratic Party's fortunes in this state.
Whoever ends up running against him, Cornyn certainly needs to go. With Bush gone after 2008, there won't be much for a Bush yes-man to do.