Battleground 2020Elections 2020FederalRoyce West Will Seek Democratic Nomination to Challenge John Cornyn’s Senate Seat

State Senator Royce West (D-Dallas) announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate today, adding his name to the list of Democrats challenging Sen. John Cornyn.
July 22, 2019

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At a press conference in Dallas today, longtime state Senator Royce West (D-Dallas) announced his intention to run for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Senator John Cornyn.

West has represented Senate District 23 since 1993 and has filled numerous leadership roles within the legislative body, including President Pro Tempore and currently as vice-chair of the powerful Higher Education Committee. 

According to Rice University’s legislative rankings, West ranked as the third most conservative Democratic Senator after the 2019 legislative session.

At his announcement, West touted the importance of bipartisanship, called himself an “LBJ-type” Democrat, and defended Obamacare. Additionally, he stated that 10 State Senators and 47 State Representatives had “encouraged” him to run for the seat.

West also acknowledged the other Democrat candidates in the race, calling the primary process “healthy for the Democratic party.” 

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The growing field boasts several prominent candidates other than West, including Amanda Edwards, the Houston city councilwoman who announced her candidacy last week. Edwards tweeted a video stating that she had raised $200,000 on the first day of her campaign.

M.J. Hegar, whose congressional campaign against Rep. John Carter (R-TX-31) received national attention in 2018, announced her candidacy for the office earlier this year.

Hegar exhibited an impressive $1 million fundraising haul in the second quarter.

Chris Bell, a former congressman and gubernatorial candidate, has said he intends to run. Several other candidates, including Adrian Ocegueda and Sema Hernandez, have also filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

The Cornyn campaign was quick to address West’s candidacy, instantly launching a popup site drawing comparisons between him and his former Texas Senate colleague Wendy Davis, citing an “F” rated record on Second Amendment issues, and pointing to Royce’s opposition to Governor Greg Abbott’s property tax relief legislation.

Sen. Cornyn, who serves as the Majority Whip, raised $2.5 million during the last reporting period, a strong number at this point in the election cycle.

West’s announcement comes after months of speculation that he would throw his hat in the ring.

As of the Texas Ethics Commission’s July 15 report deadline, West showed over $1.4 million cash on hand in his state account.

Echoing West’s own statements about his ability to bring people from both parties together, the Texas Democratic Party released a statement.

“Royce West is a strong leader, consensus-builder, and proven legislator. A fighter for the city of Dallas and the people of Texas, the Texas Democratic Party is excited to see him enter the 2020 United States Senate race.”

The announcement came after West filed documents with the FEC last week that seemingly confirmed his intention to run.


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McKenzie DiLullo

McKenzie DiLullo serves as Senior Editor at The Texan. Previously, she worked as a Capitol Director during the 85th legislative session before moving to Fort Worth to manage Senator Konni Burton’s campaign. In her free time, you might find her enjoying dog memes, staring at mountains, or proctoring personality tests.