It's still a long shot, but for the first time Democratic activists are talking about the possibility of turning Senate seats in Texas and Georgia blue.
Cornyn leads 50-43% in the latest Rasmussen poll, but the extraordinary organizational strength of Texas Democrats demonstrated in the primary combined with enthusiasm for Noriega's historic candidacy makes it closer than the numbers.
Thanks to Talking Points Memo commentator HusseinTenaX for asking why we are ignoring Texas. (An amusing meme among Talking Points Memo commentators is to show their support for Barack Obama by taking on a Hussein honorific.)
If you have a few bucks, you might toss them Rick Noriega's way.
Meanwhile, in Georgia, Saxby Chambliss (pronounced shameless) is in a dogfight against Democrat Jim Martin. This is a 46-44 race with a little known Libertarian candidate, Allen Buckley, snagging 5 percent of the vote. But here's what's remarkable:
Among the 9% of Georgia voters who say they have already voted, Obama leads by 29 points; among those who have not yet voted, McCain leads by 12.
Veteran Atlanta Journal Constitution writer Jim Galloway highlighted this "intensity" gap, which points to the dynamic nature of the Obama campaign's efforts. Obama has pulled staff out of Georgia, but the voter registration drive and volunteer energy that he left behind may still pull an upset in Georgia's Senate race.
Lest we forget, Saxby Chambliss ran what was then one of the most deceitful and disgraceful ads in modern political history juxtaposing then incumbent Democratic Senator and war hero Max Cleland with Osama Bin Laden.
At the time, John McCain called the ad "worse than disgraceful." Curiously, the ad looks quite similar to some of the recent tacky McCain ads. Must be because McCain hired Chambliss's campaign manager Bo Harmon to be his national political director.
The Martin campaign is running a smart, aggressive operation. A recent ad featuring Max Cleland stresses Martin's national security credentials and superior understanding of the problems that the middle class face. It's a one-two punch to the gut of the Bush enabling, draft ducking Senator who had the stones to attack the patriotism of a man who lost three limbs in the service of his country. (Chambliss didn't go. Bad knee.)
Even though these campaigns are operating almost completely under the radar, they could be the sleepers of 2008. On election night, don't be surprised if your talking heads are yammering in stunned amazement about one or both of these races.