Given that I work for both Rick Noreiga and serve on Democracy for Texas's steering committee which submitted the proposal that drew Netroots Nations' eye to Texas, I could not be happier right now! We're going to have one heck of a time here in the Lone Star State when Netroots Nation is in Austin, TX from July 17-20, 2008.
Below is a statement on behalf of Rick Noriega's campaign regarding the announcement.
On behalf of all Texans, Rick Noriega congratulates the City of Austin as he shares in their excitement as host of the 2008 Netroots Nation convention. The Netroots community has not only proven that it can change the conventional wisdom of politics, but that it can change the conventional practices of politics as well.
We have the opportunity to enact meaningful change in the makeup of the U.S. Senate in 2008 and Rick is proud to be the candidate to put Texas in play. Our grassroots movement in Texas has garnered Democracy for America's first Senate endorsement, the support of John Kerry and Wesley Clark, the backing of the Texas netroots and Blue America communities, as well as contributions from over 2,400 online donors-- the most donors of any Senate challenger on ActBlue.
Welcome to Austin, Netroots! Rick and our entire campaign team look forward to meeting many of you in person next July 17-20.
-Sue Schechter, Campaign Manager Rick Noriega for U.S. Senate
Rick of course is no stranger to Netroots Nation (formerly YearlyKos) as he was liveblogging it this summer in Chicago. Martha, writing at Off the Kuff, provided us with a lot of pictures of Noriega at this year's convention as well.
Guess who's in Texas today to help raise money for John Cornyn's 2008 re-election campaign? Why, Cornyn's buddy Bush, of course. He has swooped in to headline 2 fundraisers today, one in Houston and one in San Antonio (following on the heels of Cheney's Dallas fundraiser just last week), a nice quid pro quo for one of Bush/Cheney's most reliable rubberstamps.
From a Texas Democratic Party press release:
After five years serving as the White House's errand boy in the U.S. Senate, John Cornyn is being rewarded today with two fundraisers featuring President Bush. The Bush patronage machine continues to repay blind devotion and partisanship with political and financial favors--and no one is more partisan than Cornyn, as noted by an independent Congressional Quarterly analysis that showed him voting with the Republican Party 98% of the time.
Thanks to a grassroots and netroots-driven draft effort, we have a great candidate to take on Cornyn next year: TX State Representative and Lt. Colonel in the Texas Army National Guard Rick Noriega. And he needs our help.
Over at the Texas blog, Burnt Orange Report, writer Phillip Martin was absolutely right in his post that the Texas of today is a world of difference from the Texas of 5 years ago. That year we saw the rise of John Cornyn from Attorney General to U.S. Senator, defeating Ron Kirk 55-43. But thanks to hard work by a dedicated group of Democrats, the world of 2008 will indeed be very different than the world of 2002.
A large part of that has to do with President Bush. Having ridden sky-high approval ratings into the 2002 elections, he naturally helped prop up John Cornyn and every other Republican that ran (and sadly won) in so many Senate races that year. Now, Bush is no longer popular. In fact, there is not a *single state* in which he has over 50% approval anymore. Not one. In Texas, Bush's approval is just above 40%. That's now below John Cornyn's last measured approval of 43%.
But that change hasn't stopped Cornyn's allegience to Bush- he's continued to vote with him lockstep, one of the strongest pro-Bush voting records in the Senate. Heck, even Texas' other Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison has broken with the president on issues such as SCHIP or the DREAM Act. But I suppose we shouldn't be surprised that Cornyn is welcoming Bush to and has already welcomed Cheney with open arms to come fundraise for him in Texas.
"It's in the eye of the beholder," Mr. Cornyn said, adding, "I'm pleased that the vice president would take time out of his schedule to assist us in that effort."
"But I believe that it's important in a state as big as Texas to raise the funds to tell people who you are and what you stand for."
Rick Noriega and Texas Democrats are fighting back. Just as they have been for the last 5 years, together we are going to push back- in 2007, 2008, and beyond.
Below I've included an email sent by the Noriega campaign...we'll be seeing a lot more activity this week regarding President Bush secretly arriving in Texas to fundraising for John Cornyn. This is what change looks like.
President Bush is arriving in Texas for two secretive, invite-only fundraisers for his Rubber Stamp: Senator John Cornyn.
We shouldn't be surprised that George W. Bush is coming in 3 days to help his #1 cheerleader for his Administration's failed policies.
But we're not going to let President Bush quietly slink into Texas to help Rubber Stamp Cornyn. Click the link below and help us reach our $50,000 goal in 3 days to Stamp Out Bush's Rubber Stamp.
I promise not to deluge anyone with just Rick Noriega stories now that I'm back in Texas supporting his campaign, but I really do want to talk about this. I'm a Democracy for Texas steering committee member which is why I'm additionally excited.
Democracy for America, the 700,000 person national progressive membership organization that was born out of Howard Dean's campaign, is doing something very big that affects Texas. They've put out the call, asking if DFA as a national organization should endorse Rick Noriega and make him their first Senate endorsement for 2008. That's huge- and it's totally possible.
As you may remember, Democracy for Texas endorsed Noriega in September after polling their membership which came back with a stunning 86% saying- YES. It was the first time DFT had ever endorsed a candidate as an organization and they are supporting the effort for DFA to endorse as well.
Getting DFA to endorse would be huge- not only for Rick Noriega, but also for Texas as it would help put an already exciting race on the national map. That would be key given that President Bush is coming to Texas next week to raise for Cornyn (and Cheney who was here yesterday).
Texas Senate candidate Mikal Watts (D) has decided to end his exploratory campaign for the seat of Sen. John Cornyn (R).
Watts's exit leaves state Rep. Rick Noriega as the only top Democratic contender in the field.
In a statement, Watts cited concerns for his family as the primary reason for his dropping out and pledged to help elect whoever the Democratic nominee is.
The reasons for creating my exploratory committee still exist. As I have criss-crossed the state and met and talked with tens of thousands of good Texans, it is evident how much the people of Texas want and need a Senator who will fight every day for their interests and not the special interests. We need to elect a new Senator in Texas and I will personally do everything possible to support the Democratic nominee.
Thanks to Watts's decision, it looks like we can look forward to State Senator Rick Noriega's unimpeded nomination. Glad to see Watts will be actively involved in helping Noriega send John Cornyn packing. From Noriega's statement:
As Teddy Roosevelt once said, the credit goes to the man in the arena. And Mikal Watts will always have my utmost respect for standing in the arena and highlighting how John Cornyn has let Texas down, placing political extremists and his financial contributors ahead of the people of Texas. [...]
Today, Mikal made a very difficult and personal decision to put his family first. That's a reflection of a strong character and a truly grounded leader.
Mikal and I made plans to sit down together in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, I'll continue the campaign that we started together and fight for the vision for a better Texas that we continue to share.
Looking at Kos's Research 2000 poll from September, which found Noriega starting off with a 35%-51% deficit against Cornyn, this will be an uphill climb to be sure. But as Jonathan and Markos reminded us yesterday, we've done it before and we can do it again.
Check out Noriega's website HERE and give to his campaign via ActBlue.