Cornyn ready for ethics vote critics

Staff Report

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - After casting votes before summer recess against a children's health insurance spending bill and ethics and lobbying reform legislation, Senator John Cornyn got a preview of the bruising campaign he may face next fall.

Democrat Mikal Watts, a San Antonio attorney who hopes to challenge Cornyn, and the Democratic Party quickly latched onto the votes.

Watts called Cornyn's vote against the children's health insurance program hypocritical, since the senator gets government-subsidized health care. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee accused Cornyn of siding with a "tiny fringe" in voting against the ethics and lobbying bill.

It's clear Democrats smell opportunity and are eager to get their political talons into one of the state's U.S. Senate seats. But Texas Democrats haven't won a statewide elected office in Texas since 1998.

State Representative Rick Noriega, a Democrat from Houston, and Dallas attorney Emil Reichstadt also are bidding for the chance to take on Cornyn.