April 12, 2007

Democrat Fantasy In Texas

Beat John Cornyn? They must not be in much contact with reality – but then again, they wouldn’t be Democrats if they were.

On the Democrats' Senate campaign Web site, Texan John Cornyn is labeled the least popular U.S. senator in the crop of Republican incumbents running for re-election next year.

He's also identified as the administration's most loyal ally on Capitol Hill, which could be an uncomfortable title to wear at a time of flagging public confidence in President Bush and the war in Iraq.

But Democrats have yet to field a challenger or offer any sign that the race should be shifted out of the "solid Republican" category where political handicappers have it listed. Meanwhile, Cornyn is busily working to build a $20 million campaign war chest.

"If there were credible senior Democrats in Texas, this would be a race to look at," said Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University. "But I don't see that person on the horizon here in Texas."

Democrats in Austin and Washington insist they'll field an attractive candidate. And while their bench of proven statewide vote-getters is thin, the Democrats argue that the race will be made competitive by demographic and political trends that are inexorably weakening the GOP's dominance of Texas.

"Given his record, given his approval ratings, we do believe that John Cornyn is vulnerable and Texas Democrats are going to work to challenge him at every corner," Texas Democratic Party spokeswoman Amber Moon said.

Though party officials are reluctant to publicly discuss potential candidates, the names mentioned include former Comptroller John Sharp; state Rep. Rick Noriega, of Houston; state Rep. Pete Gallego, of Alpine; and Barbara Ann Radnofsky, the 2006 Senate nominee against Kay Bailey Hutchison. U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson, who earned celebrity in his party for claiming the seat formerly held by Republican Tom DeLay, also has been mentioned, along with former U.S. Rep. Jim Turner, of Crockett.

There isn’t a single credible Democrat in the bunch mentioned – with perhaps one exception.

Radnofsky? She got crushed by Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Gallego? Good guy, but not a household name.

Sharp? Out of office for years – though his name ID is high due to being part of the Texas equivalent of the Kennedy family.

Lampson? Well, he does hold DeLay’s seat – but then again, he will actually have to face an opponent on the ballot if he runs for Senate against Cornyn. Besides, he has already been rejected by the voters of two Texas congressional districts, and is likely to lose the CD22 seat in 2008, when he will actually have a GOP opponent on the ballot in our heavily GOP district.

Indeed, there only one on that list who I find to be of potential concern is Rick Noriega, whose balancing of legislative responsibilities and his duty as an officer in the Reserves has earned him the respect of many of us on the GOP side of the aisle.

But Cornyn is very popular in this state, especially among Texas Republicans – more than Kay Bailey Hutchison, to be honest about it. And if Texans get to decide the outcome of this race, we will certainly reelect this former state Attorney General and former Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court – and maybe send him to the White House in the future.

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT Stop the ACLU, Outside the Beltway, Perri Nelson's Website, Is It Just Me?, The Virtuous Republic, Stuck On Stupid, The Amboy Times, Pursuing Holiness, , Rightlinx, third world county, Woman Honor Thyself, stikNstein... has no mercy, , Pirate's Cove, The Pink Flamingo, Dumb Ox Daily News, Right Voices, Blog @, 123beta, Maggie's Notebook, Adam's Blog, basil's blog,, The Bullwinkle Blog, Cao's Blog, , Jo's Cafe, Conservative Cat, Conservative Thoughts, Allie Is Wired, Faultline USA, stikNstein... has no mercy, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, The World According to Carl, Blue Star Chronicles, Gone Hollywood, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

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