The DC bailout worked. MJ Hegar will be the Democratic nominee in November against Senator John Cornyn. Nothing says, “I am the candidate who can win in November,” like needing to outspend your opponent 102-1 to eke out a narrow runoff win. The closing weeks proved to be very damaging to MJ Hegar and her allies. As The Dallas Morning News reported recently:
“But the winner of Tuesday’s Senate runoff could have a dickens of a time uniting a party fractured after a sudden and surprising bruising climax to the contest. If November is the kind of hard grind where votes are needed from every corner of the Democratic Party, either Hegar or West will have to overcome the hard feelings that emerged in the closing stage of their runoff. Yes, both candidates will say the right things after the election, but it’s how their political bases respond to the outcome that will be critical to determining how the nominee performs against Cornyn.”
In the closing weeks of the runoff Royce West claimed MJ isn’t authentic, possibly racist. The DSCC came out early in the primary to endorse MJ Hegar. In doing so, they passed over 8 of 12 Democratic candidates who are minorities, several of whom possessed significant governing or political experience. None of those candidates endorsed MJ Hegar in the runoff. Joaquin Castro even passed MJ Hegar over, twice. When asked by the Texas Tribune if she would campaign for West if he won, Hegar failed to be gracious and all but indicated she would not. There was no love lost between them during the runoff, and when “The Real MJ” showed her true colors West didn’t mince words.
MJ is no Beto. In 2018, Beto O’Rourke was able to unify Texas Democrats all by himself, whereas MJ received millions of dollars in support from outside groups and national Democrats just to push her over the finish line. Beto won the primary outright with 62% support, Hegar received 22% before the runoff. At this point in 2018, Beto raised $23.8M and had $14M in his war chest; last quarter MJ raised $1.7M and will have $1M or less. Unlike other Senate Democratic candidates around the country, MJ has shown the least ability to raise anywhere near what’s necessary to build a statewide operation. She has less than four months to introduce herself to voters outside the Austin media market who’ve never heard of her.
A fractured party and lack of financial support from grassroots voters are ominous signs for any candidate, much less one who also needs to overcome structural challenges. Senator Cornyn and the Republican Party of Texas haven’t taken anything for granted since 2018, producing 100,000 new GOP voters over the past year alone. With thousands of volunteers, field organizers around the state and a sophisticated voter contact program, Republicans in Texas remain on the offensive and Democrats remain ideologically out of touch.
MJ is really good at sharing her bio, but not policy specifics. What we do know is that Hegar voted for Elizabeth Warren in Texas’ presidential primary and embraced Warren’s endorsement of her U.S. Senate campaign, claiming she was “so proud” to have Warren’s support. As we all know, Warren campaigned for president on pledges to institute the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, a nationwide fracking ban, and the elimination of federal funding for charter schools; issues that are anathema to the majority of Texans.
Most days, Hegar sounds a lot like a practiced politician when it comes to avoiding direct answers and delivering talking points. We do know she supports a “public option” in health care as a “stepping stone” toward Medicare for All and has called single-payer healthcare “the future of our healthcare system.” Hegar supports a carbon tax and cap-and-trade, which would also be a disaster for Texas energy. Good luck getting a straight answer out of her when it comes to fracking, defunding ICE, and a host of other issues.
Senator Cornyn is prepared to face whatever comes his way, and will fight for Texas as he always has. The RCP average has Senator Cornyn +10.3 in the polls. Our campaign has $14.5 million cash on hand going into the general election. The most recent fundraising period was Team Cornyn’s strongest to date, raising $3.5 million, and earned him grassroots support from each of Texas’ 254 counties. The Turn Texas Blue crowd wants to permanently change what it means to be a Texan — pushing for expanding government-run healthcare and higher taxes on our energy. Senator Cornyn will continue to fight for the principles that make Texas the economic engine of America, and send national Democrats a strong message about the future of our state.
Stand with Senator John Cornyn!