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Two items about MJ Hegar and John Cornyn

Ross Ramsey makes an obvious but necessary point about the fight MJ Hegar hopes to have with John Cornyn.

MJ Hegar

It was money that made [Hegar’s close race in 2018 against Rep. John Carter] possible, just as money made O’Rourke’s challenge to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz last year. O’Rourke had a lot going for him then, as Hegar does now. He’s got a knack for getting attention. His 254-county tour of Texas got him a lot of notice. Cruz is popular with Texas Republicans and gets the full-throated support of the loud ones. But he has the opposite effect on Democrats and Democratic activists. In the early days of the race, when the average Texan could pass O’Rourke in a parking lot without noticing him, the El Paso Democrat was already running pretty well against Cruz.

In a University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll a year before the election, 69% of Texans had no real impression of O’Rourke; only 17% didn’t view Cruz positively or negatively. In another UT/TT Poll in March of this year, the neutral opinions of O’Rourke — one measure of his recognizability — had dropped to 12 percent.

One of the many things that happened between point A and point B on the O’Rourke timeline was $70 million in campaigning. He was a good candidate, but money made him a threat.

Hegar’s congressional race was probably a beneficiary of whatever Democratic momentum O’Rourke built up. But she also had money, a good story and, in her case, a less energetic incumbent to knock off. If she’d pulled a few more votes in veteran-heavy Bell County — she’s a veteran, too, which is why the door from the helicopter she flew in Afghanistan is in her dining room — she might be in Congress today.

Hegar had to wrestle her way to Carter, finishing first in last year’s Democratic primary and then prevailing in a runoff with Christine Eady Mann. She’s the most serious Democrat to enter the race with Cornyn, but U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, has been openly considering a run.

The two face obstacles O’Rourke overcame, starting with introductions. Neither has run a statewide campaign, and both can expect to see a lot of strangers on their way to a 2020 race.

So yes, MJ Hegar is going to have to raise a lot of money to make sure the voters know who she is, and why she’s the better choice to represent them. As I’ve said, she needs to start raising this money now so she can spend some of it for the primary, regardless of whether or not Joaquin Castro or anyone else gets in, because there will be an awful lot of people casting votes in the 2020 Democratic primary, and it would be nice (read: it is vitally necessary) if those voters know who she is.

One thing I’m not worried about is how Hegar will respond to the farrago of baloney that is already coming her way from the right wing noise machine.

As U.S. Sen. John Cornyn derides her as “Hollywood Hegar,” his newest Democratic challenger, MJ Hegar, says she’s not backing away from her celebrity fans — including comedian Patton Oswalt — and is happy to debate the Republican incumbent on the sources of their support.

“Not at all,” Hegar said in an interview Friday when asked if she felt the need to account for the high-profile backers. “I think it’s very clear to be able to be a working-class mom of two and veteran and to be able to take on an entrenched, establishment, dark money-backed Washington lackey, that I’m gonna have to be able to excite people and gain momentum and gain attention and get people excited and energized. I’m proud of my ability to do that and I’m frankly surprised that he wants to start the conversation by looking into where we get our support from.”

Citing Cornyn’s contributions from corporate PACs, the National Rifle Association and the pharmaceutical industry, Hegar added, “We can talk all day about where our support is coming from.”

That’s the way you do it. Now go raise a bunch of money so you can say that directly to the voters.

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5 Comments

  1. Paul Kubosh says:

    Any chance that Cornyn will register Republicans the same way Beto registred Democrats? Any chance Cornyn will go to all the Counties in the State the same way Beto did. All the Republicans dislike Beto however if I was them I would study what he did and try to duplicate it.

  2. Joel says:

    If Cornyn did go to 254 counties, would anyone notice?

    The guy has been senator how long … and I don’t even know what his voice sounds like.

  3. Bill Daniels says:

    Cornyn’s key to winning is riding Trump’s coat tails. He just needs to ask voters, do you like Trump’s economy? Do you like his judge picks? Do you want more of that? Vote for me. Otherwise, vote for my opponent, who will vote against everything Trump is trying to do.

    It’s pretty simple at this point. Cornyn isn’t as polarizing as Cruz, and many Beto voters were sucked in by his siren song of non committal answers and we’ll all come together kumbaya message. The fact is, we won’t come together. Lizzie is proof of that.

    Cornyn needs to hitch his wagon to Trump and push the issue that Hegar, despite being a war vet, isn’t going to vote for the Trump economy, for energy independence, for stopping the flood of illegals pouring in, or anything else Trump is trying to accomplish. And he needs to send that message not just to suburban whites, like in Lizzie’s district, but also to Latinos, who suffer the most from the flood of illegal aliens coming in, competing for jobs, lowering wages, and making their neighborhoods less safe. Heck, he ought to send that message to the black community as well.

    Has anyone been to the east end lately, around Homestead, Mesa Dr., Tidwell, etc.? There’s a bunch of new building, new houses, new warehouses and new businesses going up. I don’t know if that was included as an ‘opportunity zone,’ but it seemingly has become one. This is an area that has been stuck in time for decades, and is now building out, new jobs, new homes, lots of remodeling, all in the North Forest schools area, possibly one of the worst areas of town next to Sunnyside.

    Trump’s economy is benefiting real working class black people. You can literally drive around and SEE it. Cornyn needs to campaign there too. Did they see any of that during Obama’s term? Under Clinton or the Bushes? No. It’s Trump and his magic wand that have caused this, and they might want to consider voting to help that continue.

  4. Terrance Jewett says:

    I really hate when people use black people as a prop. Especially since the people who tend to do this have expressed racist thoughts before.

  5. Bill Daniels says:

    Terrence,

    Explain what this racist has lied about here.