AUSTIN (KXAN) — Williamson County veteran, Democrat Mary Jennings “MJ” Hegar, officially announced Tuesday that she will make a bid in 2020 to unseat Republican incumbent and senior U.S. Sen. John Cornyn.
She made the announcement with a video and tweet early Tuesday morning.
Hegar made waves in November when she lost by a sliver to Congressman John Carter, R-Williamson County, and came within striking distance of victory in a district where Republicans have historically defeated Democrats by double digits. Soon after her loss, it was reported she met with Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer. In the past few weeks, she has hinted numerous times that she might run against Cornyn.
“We don’t have a senator who represents Texas values, in fact, our senator is in the pocket of special interests,” the Round Rock candidate wrote of Sen. Cornyn in her announcement. “He’s voted against making prescription drugs more affordable and he’s voted against financial protections that would benefit our service members.”
See her announcement video:
Last month, news spread that San Antonio Congressman, Democrat Joaquin Castro, twin brother of Presidential candidate Julian Castro, wanted to run against Sen. Cornyn. Hegar’s move may set up an intense primary contest within the Democratic party.
When Hegar announced her bid, Castro’s campaign advisor, Matthew Jones said, “the era of uncontested primaries in Texas is over.”
“Every candidate in this race has announced on their own timeline and is making their own case to the voters of Texas,” Jones wrote. “The stakes are too high for us to lose focus on what really matters right now, and that’s defeating Trump’s number one cheerleader and enabler in Texas, Washington John Cornyn,”
Sen. Cornyn sent out a fundraising email to his supporters in response to Hegar’s Tuesday morning announcement.
“You thought Beto was liberal? Think again,” the email read. “Hegar makes him look like nothing.”
He wrote that he believes Hegar is Sen. Schumer’s candidate because she “supports government-run healthcare that would eliminate private insurance, crushing new laws, and late-term abortion. Texans rejected her radical views once and they will again.”
You can visit Sen. Cornyn’s website here.
National Republican Senatorial Committee Communications Director Jesse Hunt issued a statement soon after Hegar’s announcement.
“New York liberal Chuck Schumer found his chosen candidate in MJ Hegar. Hollywood Hegar’s support for late-term abortion and government-run health care will play better with progressive Hollywood celebrities than with mainstream Texans.”
Texas Democrats applauded her candidacy in a statement.
“The Texas Democratic Party is proud that strong candidates like MJ are running and we will be ready to support our nominees,” they wrote. “Texas Democrats know that with hard work, strong values, and bold action, victory is in our grasp.”
The Democratic primary election will be held in early March 2020; the general will coincide with the election of the United States President in November 2020.