MJ Hegar wins Texas Democratic primary, will take on Sen. John Cornyn

MJ Hegar
(Image credit: Suzanne Cordeiro/AFP/Getty Images)

Mary "MJ" Hegar, an Air Force veteran, beat longtime Texas state Sen. Royce West (D) in Tuesday's Texas Democratic Senate primary runoff, and she'll face Sen. John Cornyn (R) in November. Hegar, who narrowly to lost Rep. John Carter (R) in 2018, was long considered the likely winner of the primary, but West, who is Black, gained momentum in the final weeks as racial justice gained prominence as an issue.

"As a working mom who's lived many of the challenges facing working families across the state, I'm so proud to lead the effort to take back our state from politicians like John Cornyn who are more D.C. than Texas," Hegar said in a victory statement. Cornyn, evidently considering Hegar the riskier opponent, "launched a late advertisement designed to look like he was attacking West's liberal positions," The Washington Post reports. "Instead, the ad aimed to boost West." The Cook Political Report rates the race Likely Republican.

President Trump won Texas by 9 percentage points, and Republicans feel safer about Cornyn's chances than those of Sen. Ted Cruz (R) when he narrowly won re-election in 2018. But Trump and Democrat Joe Biden are neck-and-neck in Texas polls this year, and Biden even started airing a Texas-specific ad in the state on Tuesday.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

"Trump's campaign on Tuesday laughed off the small new investment, and even some Democrats were skeptical of Biden's chances in Texas," The Associated Press notes. "Yet Biden's modest step into a state that hasn't backed a Democrat for president in 44 years reflected the extent to which the pandemic threatens to scramble the electoral map this fall."

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at TheWeek.com, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.