Can Noriega Catch Cornyn?

Democrat close, but two and a half weeks out, it may be too late

Cornyn (l) and Noriega
Cornyn (l) and Noriega

Daily Kos is reporting a poll they commissioned from Research 2000 showing Democratic Houston state Rep. Rick Noriega inching ever closer in his challenge to incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn:

Cornyn 50%
Noriega 44%
Schick (L) 2%
Undecided 4%

The very partisan Burnt Orange Report, of course, is optimistic about that those Noriega numbers. I'm pretty partisan myself, but the clear-eyed journalist in me views them with more pessimism – if the numbers are accurate, then even winning over all the undecideds aren't enough to take out Cornyn. But hey, the margin of error is 4% and it's only 600 people in an election that should easily top the 7.4 million of 2004, so who knows?

Daily Kos raises an interesting question: "[T]he [Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee] is stuck with a tough decision – do they play? Texas is an expensive state, with something like 18 media markets, costing millions. Yet on the flip side, they have a real opportunity in a ridiculously good environment to take out Cornyn before he's too entrenched in that seat."

I think a better question to ask is, should the DSCC have gotten involved earlier? Of course, hindsight is 20/20 here in October – just a few weeks ago I was telling people what a terrible candidate Noriega is, but seeing him in his last few appearances and debates, I think he's really polished his act and become more convincing. As Texas Monthly's Paul Burka noted this morning after the Dallas debate, "If he had $5 million and five weeks, he might make a race of it."

Unfortunately for Noriega, he has half that much time, and probably not nearly that much money.

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Elections, Election 2008, John Cornyn, Rick Noriega, Daily Kos, Research 2000

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