Texas' Cornyn says incumbency no help in re-election fight

AUSTIN — As he asks voters to elect him to a second term in the U.S. Senate, Republican John Cornyn acknowledges that Washington can be a "pretty ugly place sometimes."

In his nearly six years as the junior senator from Texas, the white-haired former judge has established a relatively high profile in the nation's capital, becoming part of Senate Republicans' five-member leadership team and weighing in on issues from energy to immigration. With the approach of Election Day, Cornyn is urging constituents to send him back to Washington to help overhaul a federal government that many Americans believe is hopelessly broken.

Buoyed by a consistent lead in the polls and a lopsided advantage in fundraising, Cornyn is favored over Democratic challenger Rick Noriega of Houston. But he concedes that his stature as an incumbent may not be that much of a plus at a time when voters are enraged at perceived inaction in Washington over the economy, healthcare, energy, the war in Iraq and a host of other issues.

"This is the most anti-incumbent environment I’ve ever seen," Cornyn said during a recent telephone interview.

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