The following is from the Aug. 4, 2008, edition of The Houston Chronicle. SMU Political Scientist Cal Jillson of SMU's Dedman College provided expertise for this story.

Cornyn sets sights on rising in Senate

The Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau

AUSTIN With a major financial advantage and a lead in the polls over his Democratic challenger, Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn is running as if his opponent is the national Democratic Party, not state Rep. Rick Noriega of Houston.

Since late last year, Cornyn has avoided directly engaging Noriega as much as possible. Any negative critiques of Noriega and his politics come from Cornyn's campaign manager and campaign spokesman.

"Cornyn sees himself as in two election fights the one in Texas being the least important," said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University. "The one up in Washington for advancement within the Senate, I think, he has clearly in mind, as well."

Favored for re-election, Cornyn can look forward to moving up in the Senate Republican leadership next year and perhaps take over as the head of the GOP senators' fundraising arm, the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Cornyn last week donated $250,000 of his re-election money to the committee. . .

Jillson said Cornyn's news releases are intended to promote him with his Senate Republican colleagues. Jillson said he believes Cornyn thinks he can run the clock out on Noriega unless something dramatically changes in Texas.

Read the full story.

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