AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Sen. Royce West has officially conceded to M.J. Hegar in the Democratic primary runoff for the U.S. Senate. This will send the military veteran to challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. John Cornyn in the general election in November.
Sen. West made the announcement on his Facebook page Wednesday morning.
“I am thankful to every person who voted for me, who donated and who volunteered for my campaign. I especially appreciate my wife Carol who is my closest advisor, as well as my children and my extended family,” West’s statement said.
“I also congratulate M.J. Hegar on her win. I have been working to elect Democrats for decades, and I look forward to turning Texas blue in November,” he said.
After results were coming in and Hegar started to pull ahead, Sen. West’s campaign tried to stay optimistic and was counting on votes from urban areas to help cut into Hegar’s lead and swing the race back to him. That didn’t happen.
Hegar garnered 52.1% of votes to Royce West’s 47.9% after poll numbers were updated overnight with 100% of precincts reporting.
Hegar thanked voters on Twitter Tuesday night, stating, “This incredible grassroots team is powerful, and I am so grateful for every one of you. Together, we’re going to win this race.”
The race between M.J. Hegar and Royce West came to a runoff election after neither garnered more than 50% of the vote in the primary to clinch the spot. Hegar received 417,160 votes or 22.31% of the vote while West received 14.66% of the vote or 174,074 votes.
The incumbent, Cornyn, received 76.04% of the vote in the Republican primary, or 1,470,669 votes, securing his party’s nomination.
Texans for Senator John Cornyn released a response to the runoff election Tuesday night, which read in part:
It took millions of dollars in outside money to help Hollywood Hegar clinch the Democratic nomination. In reality — and without the special effects — her candidacy isn’t very impressive. She was passed over for endorsement by grassroots leaders across the state and nearly every elected Texas Democrat. She would not have won the runoff in Texas were it not for the support of national Democrats like Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Schumer, to whom she is now indebted.Texans for Senator John Cornyn
Hegar emphasized during a phone banking event earlier Tuesday that people need to get more politically involved and work together to beat Cornyn in November.
“I think that you guys know that this entire campaign, I have really been trying to keep people together, to bring people together, because if we all stand together, then we can beat John Cornyn and anything that doesn’t move the needle on our values, anything that doesn’t get us closer to getting kids out of cages and get us, you know, more access to health care, anything that doesn’t do those things we’re not interested in,” Hegar said.
West said early Tuesday night no matter what happens, he wants to make sure Democrats have a seat at the table.
“We’re going to need to make certain that when we sit at the table, that we put forth the agenda that we think that Texans want in terms of the real values of Texas, as opposed to still harping on the old values of years ago,” West said. “Changing demographics necessitates that persons of different ideologies, have an opportunity to have input into the process.”
West and Hegar participated in their only face-to-face meeting June 6 when they debated in the KXAN studios in Austin. Topics included protests and police brutality and protests, decriminalization of marijuana, coronavirus response and fracking.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee released a statement on Hegar’s claimed victory Tuesday night:
“Despite the early backing of Chuck Schumer in a competitive primary, MJ Hegar still needed national Democrats to push her over the finish line,” said NRSC spokesperson Joanna Rodriguez. “Hegar stood by as her national allies foot the bill for her campaign and pushed a diverse slate of candidates out of her way, making it perfectly clear Hegar’s loyalties lie with liberal elites, not hard-working Texans. Texas voters will reject her this fall just like they did in 2018.”National Republican Senatorial Committee