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Mary ‘MJ’ Hegar declares victory over Royce West in Democratic runoff for U.S. Senate nomination

Hegar will likely face John Cornyn in November

Royce West and Mary "MJ" Hegar, candidates for U.S. Senator (Democrat) in July runoff election.
Royce West and Mary "MJ" Hegar, candidates for U.S. Senator (Democrat) in July runoff election. (KSAT)

SAN ANTONIOEditor’s note: Find other results from the Bexar County runoff here.

UPDATED, 11:30 p.m.: Mary “MJ” Hegar declared victory over state Senator Royce West on Tuesday night.

“I am humbled by the support we have received from all across the state, and am confident we have a decisive victory,” Hegar said in a statemetn. “Together, we are mounting a Texas-sized winning campaign that will take down Senator Cornyn and deliver real results on health care, racial justice, economic opportunity, climate change, immigration, and gun violence.”

With 78% of the precincts reports, Hegar leads West by a 52% to 47% margin. That’s a difference of about 40,000 votes. The Associated Press called the race around 11:40 p.m.

Hegar is an Air Force veteran who mounted a near-successful bid for Congress in 2018. West is a longtime Dallas state Senator and attorney.

In Bexar County, Hegar lead West by 65% to 35%.

West said he would release a statement on Wednesday in a tweet sent after Hegar declared victory.

Hegar, if her victory is finalized, will face off against Republican incumbent and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn in November.

Candidate

Votes

%

Mary "MJ" Hegar
Mary "MJ" Hegar(D)
498,18052%
Royce West
Royce West(D)
457,55547%
100% of Precincts Reporting

(8,779 / 8,779)

Background:

At the top of the ticket, two Democrats are battling to faceoff against Republican incumbent and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn in November.

Royce West, a longtime state senator and attorney from Dallas, received 14.5% of the vote in March. Mary “MJ” Hegar, a former Air Force pilot who burst on the scene with an ultimately unsuccesful congressional bid during the 2018 midterm, received 22% of the vote in the primary. The two participated in a debate Feb 18.

Regardless of the winner, Cornyn looks to be the favorite in the general election since a Democrat has not won statewide in Texas for more than 25 years and because both Democratic candidates have relatively low statewide name ID.

But 2020 has been an unpredictable year, and that may extend to the November election, particularly with President Donald Trump, whose polling numbers have sunk amid the coronavirus pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement, leading the way for Republicans. Still, Trump has eeked out former Vice President and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in recent Texas polling.

One thing that may help Cornyn, who will appear on all Texans’ ballots right below Trump, is the fact that straight-ticket voting is no longer a one-punch option.

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