When national Democrats started spending millions of dollars in Texas with only a week to go in the U.S. Senate primary runoff between Royce West and MJ Hegar, it piqued our interest. The DSCC and other outside groups who poured money into Hegar’s campaign early on have remained silent about why they think she’s the most “viable” candidate during the runoff. Their silence was interpreted by many as confidence Hegar would sail to the nomination against West if they could just stay quiet as more significant events unfolded and captured the public’s attention. Then things started heating up between West and Hegar in the closing weeks, and as a coalition of outside groups amassed millions in television ad campaign spending to support Hegar with a week to go, we decided to look into it.
A Dallas Morning News-University of Texas at Tyler poll conducted in late April found Hegar leading West among Democrats, 32%-16%. No other polls have been released in this race. Not from Hegar’s campaign or her DC allies. So our team conducted a poll of our own, and what we learned helped make sense of why Chuck Schumer and EMILY’s List decided to come to Hegar’s rescue once again.
The runoff race for the Democratic US Senate nomination has narrowed considerably. What was a 16-point advantage for Hegar in April has now collapsed. According to the poll, Royce West has shown real momentum and has closed the race to a single digit contest. The poll has Hegar at a slight advantage, with just a 4-point lead at 39% for Hegar, 35% for West and 26% undecided. In votes cast to date, we also show a slim advantage for Hegar; the polling shows early vote favors Hegar 52 to 48. Royce West performs well in the Dallas DMA (42% West – 35% Hegar), among voters under 45 (34%-29%), and among African American voters (60%-22%). He also holds a slight advantage in the Houston DMA, defeating Hegar 39%-37%. Link to toplines here.
Royce West’s campaign is closing with momentum. National Democrats are witnessing a big shift away from MJ Hegar and decided to throw money at the problem. Hegar has failed to close the race, and now the 26% of voters who remain undecided hold the key to her nomination. While Royce West has the last-minute energy, it still might not be enough to engage voters and overcome the millions of dollars Hegar and outside groups are spending on her behalf to win the runoff.
Stand with Senator John Cornyn!