Election results 2020: ABC projects John Cornyn to win over Mary “MJ" Hegar for U.S. Senate, Texas

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ABC News has projected U.S. Senator John Cornyn, a Republican, as the winner in the race for U.S. Senate in Texas.




John Cornyn*(R)
Mary "MJ" Hegar(D)
100% of Precincts Reporting

(9,554 / 9,554)

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While political history and money aren’t on Democrat MJ Hegar’s side, she poses a potentially serious challenge that Republican incumbent John Cornyn hasn’t dealt with in the U.S. Senate race in Texas since he defeated former Dallas mayor Ron Kirk in 2002.

Republicans, including Cornyn, have held on to Texas government with a stranglehold for a generation. In fact, a Democrat hasn’t won a statewide race in Texas since 1994, when then-Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock, Attorney General Dan Morales and Comptroller John Sharp scored state office victories.

But progressives are hoping this year is different, with record turnout across the state, including a 600% spike in youth voter turnout.

Hegar is a former Air Force helicopter pilot whose first run at elected office came during an ultimately unsuccessful bid for Congress in 2018. Her experience as a combat veteran and a mother, as well as her developing political skills have made her a formidable opponent. Still, she trails in the majority of statewide polls and is polling a few points short of the high-water mark set by Biden at the top of the ticket.

Cornyn, a former Texas attorney general and former state Supreme Court justice, is one of the most powerful Texans in Washington, D.C., serving as the majority whip in the Senate.

Hegar also faces a huge campaign war chest disadvantage. Hegar only has about $1 million compared to Cornyn, who has $14.5 million, according to figures last released in late June.

One strategy Hegar has deployed is criticizing Cornyn’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Voters who cast a ballot in the November general election are expected to judge how President Donald Trump and lawmakers responded this year.

“I’m not satisfied at all with the handling of the pandemic. I don’t know any Texans that are,” Hegar said during a virtual debate series in mid-September hosted by the Texas Tribune. “The first big mistake was downplaying it and acting like it wasn’t a big deal, and John Cornyn is certainly guilty of that.”

Cornyn countered: “It’s easy to criticize and I occasionally do that myself, but I tend to try to be focused on what needs to be done and trying to get it done. We’ve certainly thrown a lot of resources at it. If you told me six months ago, I would have voted for $3 trillion worth of spending, I would not have believed you.”

Read or watch more about where both candidates stand on the issues

Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator John Cornyn has held his position as U.S. senator for Texas since 2002, and during this election, he’s campaigning hard against Democratic political newcomer MJ Hegar, a U.S. Air Force veteran and teacher.


About the Author:

David Ibañez has been managing editor of KSAT.com since the website's launch in October 2000.