Noriega is traveling today to Las Vegas as a guest of the Democratic National Committee to meet national party donors who are attending the Nevada Democratic Party's presidential debate, which begins at 7 p.m. Central Time.
"They've got a lot of national donors coming to this, and we wanted them to put a face with the name," Noriega told the Houston Chronicle on Wednesday. "What's going to happen is across the country folks are going to start realizing that Texas is in play."
In the past several weeks, Noriega also has picked up endorsements from past Democratic presidential candidates John Kerry and Wesley Clark.
"It's a different race now, from a primary to a general election," Noriega said Wednesday.
Another sign that Noriega is turning the national party to his favor occurred last week in Austin, where he was a guest at a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
The senatorial committee will not decide which state races to finance until late next summer, but chairman Sen. Charles Schumer had in the past indicated a preference for Watts as the party nominee because Watts, a San Antonio trial lawyer, could largely finance his own campaign.