I thought it would be a good idea to start looking at Senate races for 2008, so lets get started with a great candidate from the great state of Texas, Rick Noriega (no not that Noriega).
Rick is attempting to unseat first term Senator John Cornyn. Cornyn won his seat in 2002 with 54.7% of the vote, and has spent the last 5 years helping out all his fellow Texan's in the White House, all while racking up the third most conservative voting record in the Senate. All of this might help explain why Cornyn started the 2008 election cycle as least popular Republican Senator in the country with only a 41% favorable rating.
So whose Rick Noriega?
Well, Rick is a Lt. Colonel in the Texas National Guard who also happens to be a five term member of the Texas House of Representatives. Aside from being an Afghanistan War Veteran, a native Texan (including the accent), a graduate of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, a Hurricane Katrina rescue worker, and a finalist on American Idol, he doesn't have much of a resume compared to Cornyn. (I'm actually not telling the truth about the American Idol thing, but you get the point.) Noriega isn't a millionaire whose trying to buy this seat, but he is getting solid support from the right Dems in Texas, and even some Republicans.
Is this an easy pick up? Hell no. Is this a great candidate who can put up a great fight? Absolutely.
There hasn't been a Democratic Senator from Texas for 19 years. That's right, not since the Dodgers won the World Series has Texas been blue in the Senate, although Dems did make inroads in 2006 by picking up two congressional seats. Cook Political currently has this race classified as a "Safe Republican" seat, but the Noriega's campaign has only started making movement in the last month. Cornyn is currently sitting on $3.3 million in the bank, so Noriega will need to get fundraising A.S.A.P.
This is definatly a candidate and a race we should all keep an eye on.
The campaign site
The draft Noriega news blog
The first commercial
The DSCC breakdown