Sunday, October 19, 2008

Chron Assesses Noriega's Chances

http://www.texasobserver.org/archives/zrq_071214/images/rick-noriega-afghanistan.jpg
Everyone knew Rick Noriega would have an uphill race in Texas, where no Democrat has won a statewide race in many years. The statistical poll-weighing site FiveThirtyEight gives Cornyn a 93% chance of winning by 10 points as of October 14, which is pretty grim. The Houston Chronicle is slightly more sanguine. The Chron, which just endorsed Obama (its first Democratic Presidential endorsement since Johnson in '64!) wrote the following:
The first-term senator [Cornyn] wouldn't have anything to worry about in an ordinary election. A Democrat hasn't won a Senate race in Texas in 20 years or carried the state in a presidential contest in 30 years. Cornyn has led in the polls and enjoyed a fundraising advantage of almost 5-1 over Noriega.

Nevertheless, the polls have never shown Cornyn with a lock on re-election and indicate he has less support than Republican presidential candidate John McCain among Texas voters.

Combine that with Democratic excitement for presidential nominee Barack Obama and voter anger over the economy, gasoline prices and the Iraq war, and Noriega believes he has a shot at an upset.

One other factor is that among most voters, Cornyn has no particular active following. He's the Republican who happens to be the senator. Otherwise, he is seen as a piece of furniture, a fairly reliable yes-man for whatever the party favors at the moment. He's a non-entity. It seems to me that this kind of candidate is especially vulnerable when his opponent does have a vocal and active following. Unfortuntely, Noreiga hasn't been able to generate that. But Obama has. So Obama's coattails will be a big factor.

The funny thing is that Cornyn has apparently given up on his own party this time around. He told the Longview News-Journal that

he will be able to serve Texas well in the U.S. Senate, even if Sen. Barack Obama wins the presidency and Democrats win a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

If that scenario happens, his role in the Senate's minority still will be important, Cornyn said in an editorial board meeting Friday with the Longview News-Journal.

Cornyn touted his working relationships with other legislators in Washington, and he said he has worked on many bipartisan bills.

This is hilarious, the notion that a Democratic Senate and President will want to have anything to do with Cornyn, a hard-core Republican apparatchik. This is, in fact, a very good reason to vote for Noriega. Noriega in the Senate will be able to make sure Texas's interests are looked after. Cornyn will be less than useless in this regard after the election, if it turns out that Obama wins and the Senate gets a deeper Democratic majority, as seems likely.

So, for this and many other reasons, vote for Rick Noriega for U.S. Senate.

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