This guy is the savior of the Texas Democratic Party?
On the hustings lately, Noriega sounded like he was still coming to terms with his front-runner status, swinging from a cockiness that critics might label arrogance to sometimes appearing adrift or tentative. At his stops, party activists have applauded him, but some seemed open to the message of neophyte candidate Ray McMurrey, a Corpus Christi government teacher who says Noriega does not have clear-cut positions on issues ranging from health care to public financing of campaigns.
Afterward, talking to reporters, he seemed to take a swipe at Sun City residents in response to questions about debating his challengers.
"We've got guys killed; I wish people would wake up. I mean, we're sitting in here, look at this, people out here fishing, there's a lake over here; they're riding around here in golf carts. Come on, guys, get with the game." Noriega later said he didn't intend to insult anyone.
On Wednesday, Noriega's camp reprimanded a campaign aide who posed as a blogger and gave a false name to Cornyn staffers while seeking a copy of the senator's public schedule.
Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University, said Noriega seems to be the front-runner among the Democrats. But, Jillson said, he could bushwhack his chances by focusing on the Iraq war over domestic issues and refusing to debate.
"The idea that you wouldn't debate is an affront to the process," Jillson said. "There are things about Rick Noriega that strike me as amateurish."
Cornyn smartly said that he might be willing to debate primary opponent Larry Kilgore, who epitomizes the phrase "fringe candidate."
But the netroots won't be dissuaded!
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