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Texas: Web Site Backs Legislator to Run Against Cornyn

A one-time Democratic challenger to then- House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R) is leading a movement to draft state Rep. Rick Noriega (D) into the 2008 Senate race against Sen. John Cornyn (R).

Richard Morrison (D), who lost to DeLay in 2004, has set up a “Draft Rick” Web site, where he encourages the educator and National Guardsman to run against Cornyn.

“The people-powered candidate for Texas is Rep. Rick Noriega. He has served his country, his community and his family with dedication and distinction,” Morrison writes on the Web site.

But there’s no indication that Noriega is ready to launch a statewide run against Cornyn, who appears very formidable at this stage of the election cycle.

— David M. Drucker

Liberal Group Airs Ads Hitting Baucus on Trade

They Work For Us, a new political group mainly made up of labor leaders and liberal activists, wants to pressure right-leaning Democrats to hew the line on traditional Democratic issues.

The organization started by running radio ads across Montana urging Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D) to slow down trade deals.

“The Bush administration, surprisingly with Sen. Max Baucus’ support, wants the power to fast-track these bad trade deals, costing Montana thousands of good-paying jobs and undermining our state’s rights,” an announcer says.

Although the group has threatened to challenge Democratic Congressional incumbents from the left in 2008, it is not clear whether anyone is being recruited to run against Baucus.

A spokesman for Baucus, who is seeking a sixth term in 2008, could not be reached by press time Monday.

— Nicole Duran

Scholarly Paper Follows TV Ad Attacking Breaux

National and state Republicans are attacking former Sen. John Breaux (D) before he’s even decided whether he will run for governor this year.

The state party launched a TV ad last week claiming that Breaux, who now lives in Maryland and works in Washington, D.C., is barred from running in the Pelican State.

The GOP maintains that since Breaux registered to vote in Maryland he gave up his claim on being a resident of Louisiana.

Democrats believe that is debatable given that Breaux still owns property in the Pelican State.

Breaux has thrown the gubernatorial — and possibly next year’s Senatorial — race into flux by raising the specter that he might run.

Gov. Kathleen Blanco (D) is running for re-election, and Rep. Bobby Jindal (R) already has launched an aggressive campaign to defeat her.

On Monday, the Republican Governors Association circulated an article penned by a Louisiana law professor outlining reasons why Breaux would not qualify as a candidate.

— N.D.

Perennial Target Shays Cranks Up Fundraising

Rep. Christopher Shays (R) is busy collecting money for what likely will be another tough re-election fight next year.

Shays had brutal back-to-back campaigns in 2004 and 2006 and is not likely to get a break if national Democrats can help it. Former New York Rangers goalie Mike Richter (D) is contemplating a run against him.

On Thursday morning Shays will be with Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) at the Capitol Hill Club to raise money.

No specific amount is requested for fundraiser attendees.

— N.D.

State AG Says He Could Run for Open Senate Seat

State Attorney General John Suthers (R) said he is considering a run for Senate next year, and indicated that the National Republican Senatorial Committee was recruiting him for the race.

“I’ve had conversations with people on several levels,” Suthers told the Daily Sentinel newspaper. “The [NRSC] is obviously very interested in winning this race, making sure that the best possible candidate is in.”

The NRSC declined to comment.

But a source familiar with the committee said talks with Suthers did not progress beyond the obligatory conversation one would expect the committee to have with prospective candidates for an open seat — and with someone who already holds a statewide office.

The last time there was an open Colorado Senate seat, in 2004, then-Attorney General Ken Salazar (D) beat beer magnate Pete Coors (R), and some observers of Centennial State politics have labeled Suthers as a solid Senate candidate, should he decide to run.

Thus far, former Rep. Scott McInnis is the only Republican making a concerted effort to wage a campaign for the seat left open by Sen. Wayne Allard (R), who has announced he will retire at the end of his term. McInnis has nearly $1 million on hand from his old 3rd district campaign account.

Former Rep. Bob Schaffer (R) also is considering a run, as is retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Bentley Rayburn, who finished third in the 2006 GOP primary for the 5th district seat. On the Democratic side, the primary appears cleared for Rep. Mark Udall.

— D.M.D.

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