Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Rick Noriega looking official to seek nomination to oppose Cornyn

Texas State Rep. Rick Noriega will announce Thursday, June 12, that he is forming an exploratory committee to consider seeking the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate against John Cornyn. The announcement will be on the south side of the Texas Capitol in Austin at 11 a.m., at the Heroes of the Alamo monument.

From Noriega’s press release:

Rick Noriega, 49, was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1999. He has served on key committees throughout his tenure. This past session, he was a member of the Appropriations Committee and Budget and Oversight Chair for the Defense Affairs and State-Federal Relations Committee.

A 26-year veteran of our country’s armed forces, Noriega spent most of 2005 running training facilities in Afghanistan as part of the Texas National Guard. He missed the 2005 legislative session because of the assignment, and his wife Melissa served in his legislative seat during his absence.

Noriega also ran a National Guard border-security operation in Laredo, and Houston Mayor Bill White had him manage the housing of Hurricane Katrina evacuees at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

John Cornyn, the incumbent, is the least popular member of the Senate who faces reelection in 2008. The latest USA Survey poll, released June 19, 2007, showed that only 42 percent of Texans approve of the way Cornyn is handling his job, with 43 percent disapproving.

In other words, Noreiga, who has a solidly liberal record, has Cornyn “covered” on both the military/“war on terror” and the immigration/border issues, and a better option for Democrats to back than Mikal Watts. From what I know of Watts, I don’t think he would be the worst candidate in the world by any means, but Noreiga has legislative experience, and the two big “neutralizers” I mentioned above.