By the end of the evening on Tuesday, the Democratic Senate runoff election results showed MJ Hegar ahead of state Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) by four percentage points.
The 35,000 vote lead was enough for Hegar to confidently claim the victory, though West’s team decided to call it a night and release a statement in the morning.
As of Wednesday morning, the Texas Secretary of State reports that in total, Hegar received 498,180 votes (52.13%) and West received 457,555 (47.87%).
“Today, I am so proud to accept the Democratic nomination to be the U.S. Senate candidate for Texas,” said Hegar in an email to supporters on Tuesday night.
“It wouldn’t be possible without this powerful grassroots team — without people like you who look at our current representation in Washington and say hell no!” said Hegar.
Just a few minutes later, West’s team posted on Twitter, saying, “At last count, 37,000 votes remained uncounted. Some people stood in lines to vote for Senator West today. Out of respect for those who cast their votes in this historic election, Senator West will issue a statement in the morning, hoping more votes are tabulated by then.”
Hegar had vastly outraised West, quadrupling his funds in the most recent filing and ending the period with $1.6 million cash on hand.
While her cash on hand was massive compared to West’s reported $160,000, Hegar will need to raise significantly more in order to match Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-TX) well-funded campaign apparatus.
Since January of last year, Cornyn has brought in $16.6 million, about three times as much as Hegar since her entrance to the race early last year.
Without a competitive primary or runoff, Cornyn has been able to conserve much more of his funding than Hegar has. In April, he reported having $13 million cash on hand.
“We HAVE to win this fight. If we flip Texas, we will flip the Senate!” Hegar emailed her supporters.
“And if we want to fight climate change, end the gun violence epidemic, expand health care to all Texans, march toward racial justice, pass immigration reform, defend reproductive rights, and respond to the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 — plus so much more — we can’t afford to lose,” she said.
The Cornyn campaign responded to Hegar’s securing of the nomination, claiming, “It took millions of dollars in outside money to help Hollywood Hegar clinch the Democratic nomination.”
In addition to saying that Hegar’s “candidacy isn’t very impressive,” they criticized her policy positions on healthcare and energy.
“MJ Hegar supports a public option in health care as a ‘stepping stone’ toward Medicare for All and has called single-payer healthcare ‘the future of our healthcare system.’ Hegar would also be a disaster for Texas’ energy sector because she supports a carbon tax and cap-and-trade.”
The general election is scheduled to be held on November 3.
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.