Noriega Demands Debates; Cornyn's Camp Yawns
Senator's campaign says debates will happen, but not as many as challenger wants
By Lee Nichols,
3:09PM, Fri. Aug. 22, 2008
Houston state Rep. Rick Noriega is determined to test just how much interest Texans are willing to invest in a U.S. Senate race. The Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican John Cornyn yesterday called for no less than five debates before election day.
"Texans in every part of the state should have a chance to hear from U.S. Senate candidates on their positions and priorities," said Noriega spokeswoman Holly Shulman in a press release. "Noriega is specifically calling for debates in Houston, Dallas, East Texas, South Texas, the Panhandle and El Paso. "While Cornyn hasn't contacted our campaign for the past two weeks to even agree to debate, more unfortunate is that he's been out of touch with Texas families for nearly six years," wrote Shulman.
In a conversation with Newsdesk, Cornyn spokesman David Beckwith didn't seem too concerned about Noriega's challenge, but said debates will indeed happen.
"A cry for more debates is typical of a losing candidate," said Beckwith. "If we give them five, they'll want 10."
Beckwith noted that a mere single debate is typically the norm for statewide races, citing recent senatorial and gubernatorial clashes. "One is the standard, but we'll do better than that," Beckwith said. "We're in the process of firming up the details." Beckwith said an announcement on debates could come as early as next week.
Beckwith also took a jab at Noriega, noting that the Democrat wasn't nearly as fired up about debates back during the primary, before he finally relented and took on Corpus Christi schoolteacher and fellow Democratic contender Ray McMurrey.