Fresh off his wife's victory onto the Houston City Council, state Rep. Rick Noriega is poised to launch a race for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate to challenge Republican incumbent Sen. John Cornyn. ...
Noriega, 49, began looking at a challenge during this year's legislative session, but he put off any direct action until after his wife, Melissa, won her City Council runoff election last month. ...
But now Melissa Noriega's race is over, and a dozen of the state's most influential left-leaning blogs have begun an Internet "Draft Rick Noriega" movement. Noriega called it "flattering."
Yes, that would be us.
Reading further in the article we find once again the ubiquitous Matt Angle quoted:
Democratic political consultant Matt Angle said a Democratic victory in the Senate race is possible next year because the mood of the state has turned away from Republicans on national issues, and the one-party administration of state government has turned many people off.
"Nobody's under any illusions: A Republican still goes into a statewide race in Texas with an advantage, but it would be irresponsible for Democrats not to make a sincere effort to win a statewide race, especially when you have some quality candidates," Angle said.
Now I hate to take space in a post that contains such good news and say something negative, but that goddamned Matt Angle just has a special talent for getting my goat. Say this for him: he's a clever wordsmith. He managed to tell the bald-ass truth about himself and work in an insult against the 2006 slate of Democrtaic candidates, all in one sentence.
Unwittingly (perhaps), Angle also points to the most glaring deficiency of Noriega's declared primary opponent, Mikal Watts.Watts, through a now-defunct PAC operating out of Corpus Christi law offices, donated tens of thousands of dollars to both Greg Abbott and David Dewhurst in the 2006 cycle. He did so -- allegedly -- because the Democratic party bosses in Texas told him that the 2006 statewide candidates didn't have a chance of winning.
Angle demonstrated the defeatist attitude of the Texas Democratic Party's elders not only by telling influential donors like Watts that the Democrats nominated in 2006 -- one of which, you may recall, I labored for -- were a lost cause, he made certain no genuine effort was made on their behalf by sending his operatives to work in the TDP's Austin offices.
I've already bitched quite a bit about this previously (type "Angle" in the 'search this blog' box at the top of the page if you want to re-read it; I just don't feel like linking back to it any more). Angle is sending some folks down to Houston to help us take Harris County blue in 2008, so maybe our paths will cross at some point and we can hash this out privately. For now I want everyone to be clear that I have a difficult time considering Matt Angle, TDP chair Boyd Richie, and the Texas Democratic Trust allies in electing progressives. DINOs, yes. Real Democrats, not so much. I hope I get to blog something more encouraging about this shortly.
Enough of that. Back to the encouraging development, and that's Rick Noriega answering the call to run for the Senate.
His record of service in the National Guard, in the Texas House, and to the city of Houston during the Katrina exodus has been nothing short of exemplary. He's a true progressive Democrat and has demonstrated a from-the-heart populism that stands for the people and against the powerful. In these times of creeping fascism throughout our nation, that position is neither expedient nor popular. It is, however, vital to the health of our republican democracy.
Noriega is precisely the kind of candidate, the kind of leader -- and man, and human being -- that Texas desperately needs after too many years of Bush and his lickspittles destroying our Constitution, our economy, our freedoms, our military, our respect in the world ... our country.
There's no one I will work harder to get elected in 2008 than Rick Noriega. He is the real deal.