|Attorney General John Cornyn (Republican)|
State Attorney General John Cornyn says he'll continue the legacy of retiring three-term Sen. Phil Gramm, a fellow Republican, and stand up for "Texas Values" if voters decide to send him to Washington this fall. He has received a number of endorsements from fellow Republicans to help him on his way. Not only has Sen. Gramm offered his blessing, but President Bush - formerly a popular Texas governor - said Cornyn was "a dependable ally" who "will do in office what he promises."
The president gave Cornyn a boost in campaign fundraising as well, helping the senatorial candidate and other Texas GOP office-seekers raise some $1.8 million, all but $400,000 of which will go to the Cornyn campaign. The state attorney general, a self-described conservative, has proven a successful fundraiser in his own right, collecting over $4 million by last April.
Cornyn has promised Texas voters he would fight for the president's agenda, including tax cuts, welfare reform, and religious-based programs. He also says he supports the reduction of U.S. dependence on foreign energy supplies, social security reform and ending "frivolous" law suits.
Cornyn has supported the president's war on terrorism, and has spoken in favor of overthrowing Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Cornyn's strategy so far has been to paint his opponent Ron Kirk, the former mayor of Dallas, as an obstructionist controlled by liberal special interest groups from the East Coast that don't represent true "Texas values."
Cornyn also accuses Kirk of not supporting the president's initiatives to expand the war on terror to countries the president said were part of an "axis of evil," such as Iraq. Cornyn was born in 1952, the second of three children to John and Gale Cornyn, both native Texans.
Cornyn's father, who served as a B-17 pilot during World War II, worked as an Air Force medical officer, and the family moved frequently for his career. Before returning to his home state for college, Cornyn lived in Mississippi, Maryland, and Japan. Cornyn studied journalism in college after a brief stint as a pre-med student.
But after his graduation, he spent a few years as a real estate broker. Cornyn attended St. Mary's School of Law, beginning a career in civil litigation after he graduated in 1977.
Over the next seven years, Cornyn would assist his colleagues in elections for district judgeships and in 1984 Cornyn took the plunge himself and mounted a successful bid to become state district judge in San Antonio. Six years later, Cornyn won a seat on the Texas Supreme Court, where he became known as a centrist and pragmatist.
In his best-known ruling, Cornyn wrote the court's decision to uphold the state law requiring the wealthiest school districts to share property tax revenue with poorer districts. Since becoming attorney general in 1997, Cornyn says he has fought to protect consumer privacy rights and filed lawsuits against companies selling client information.
However, several Texas watchdog groups have accused Cornyn's office of not doing enough to protect individual privacy rights from large corporations and allege Cornyn made partisan rulings, particularly in redistricting cases.
Under Cornyn's watch, the attorney general's office organized a consumer fraud division to target improper business practices, including nursing homes and health maintenance organizations accused of defrauding clients or acting negligently.
Cornyn also pursued and won settlements against several energy companies accused of underpaying royalties and environmental violations.
Cornyn gained favorable public attention - including from Democrats -- for his work to enforce child-support laws, such as penalizing "deadbeat dads," and to strengthen child advocacy legislation and child abuse protection centers.
His office also created the Texas Internet Bureau to investigate and prosecute online consumer scams, identity theft and gambling and child pornography rings.
Cornyn also says he has fought against government waste and corruption with his investigation and prosecution of fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid claims.
During his current senatorial bid, Cornyn has come under fire for receiving some $193,000 in campaign contributions from Enron Corp., the bankrupt Texas energy company under state and federal investigation.
Last January, the Cornyn recused himself from a probe into the Enron matter. In May, local papers reported that Cornyn quietly contributed $200,000 to a fund for former Enron employees overseen by the Greater Houston Community Foundation.
Cornyn has been married to his wife, Sandra, a home heath-care worker, for twenty-two years. The couple has two daughters, Danley, 20, and Haley, 19.
--By Liz Harper, Online NewsHour