AUSTIN (KXAN) — In the last three months, Republican incumbent Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, raised $2.5 million for his reelection campaign, bringing his total up to $9 million. Fundraising numbers released Monday show that Texas will be an expensive, high-profile, and competitive election in the 2020 cycle.
According to Cornyn’s campaign manager, John Jackson, more than 80% of the donors were from Texas and nearly 90% of the money raised came from donations of $200 or less.
“Over the last three months, we’ve seen a massive surge in enthusiasm and grassroots support for the campaign, ” said Jackson, “It’s clear folks from all corners of our state don’t want Chuck Schumer’s politics here in Texas.” Schumer is the minority Democratic leader in the United States Senate.
Incumbent Senators usually have an advantage raising funds. Sen. Cornyn has built up a long list of supporters throughout his near two-decades in the U.S. Senate, including a stint as the number two in Republican leadership.
The most prominent Democrat running against Cornyn, Round Rock veteran MJ Hegar, raised more than $1 million. According to her campaign, 60% of donors came from within Texas and 90% was under $100. Hegar has $600,000 cash-on-hand, according to her campaign.
The veteran launched her bid for the United States Senate in late April. The second-quarter deadline to report financial numbers was at the end of June. Hegar had a much smaller average donation at $28 to Cornyn’s $167. A key difference is Hegar has committed to eschewing donations from political action committees led by corporations.
The $1 million figure for Hegar is an impressive haul for a candidate who launched midway through a financial quarter. She ran an unsuccessful campaign in 2018 against incumbent Republican John Carter, R-Round Rock, where she raised $5 million for the entire race. There is more than a year to go until the November election.
“I am proud of the campaign we are building from the ground up and am excited to see so many Texans hopping on board. This is just the start. It is clear that Texans are ready to have someone working for them, not someone bought and paid for by corporate PACs,” said Hegar.
This foreshadows another blockbuster race for the United States Senate. Last year, the showdown between incumbent Senator Ted Cruz and former Congressman Beto O’Rourke was one of the most expensive United States Senate races in history with both candidates bringing in well over $100 million. Cruz eventually edged out O’Rourke by less than three percentage points.
Texans usually help fundraise for other candidates across the United States. This year will be an outlier as outside groups will pour money into the large, diverse, battleground state.
Former Houston Congressman Chris Bell has also launched an election bid against Cornyn. Texas State Senator Royce West, D-Dallas, is expected to announce a run on July 22nd in Dallas.