Will Hollywood elites rise up on Twitter to support MJ Hegar this time around? In 2018, Hegar was the Democrat challenger to longtime Texas GOP incumbent Rep. John Carter and she came within 3 points of winning that election. Hollywood elites were ablaze with Betomania and poured lots of money into campaigns deemed competitive by the DNC. Her’s was one of those campaigns.
If MJ is hoping to have her candidacy catch fire, as it did in 2018, thanks to well-produced video ads, she is going to have to up her game. Her announcement that she is entering the 2020 Democrat primary to challenge Senator John Cornyn’s re-election bid is heavy on biography (as it should be because she isn’t a household name) but the only narrative that comes through is her disdain of Cornyn. The takeaway I got is that she’s bothered by the fact that Cornyn works closely with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Or something.
— MJ Hegar (@mjhegar) April 23, 2019
Hegar is looking to make a splash and set herself apart from the other Democrats hoping to win the party’s nomination. The most notable of her competition will be Rep. Joaquin Castro, should he decide to enter the race. He hasn’t as of yet but does express interest in running. He’s the twin brother of 2020 Democrat presidential candidate Julian Castro and chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. His spokesman released a short statement Tuesday.
Castro spokesman Matt Jones on Tuesday said that Hegar “brings a ton of great qualities to the race.” But he also said “every candidate in this race has announced on their own timeline and is making their own case to the voters of Texas — Joaquin is no different.”
“The last two campaigns he has fought, and won, started with a tough primary,” Jones said, adding that the focus must remain on defeating President Donald Trump’s “number one cheerleader and enabler in Texas — Washington John Cornyn.”
It is no secret that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is looking for a strong candidate to run against Cornyn. Hegar is a decorated Air Force veteran (a helicopter pilot) who served three tours in Afghanistan. Her helicopter was shot down and she was wounded. She said she was denied the next step in her career path because she is a woman. She pursued a policy change in Washington, D.C. at the Pentagon but said she received little support from Congress, though she states “she won.”
Hegar – who lives in Round Rock, just north of Austin, with her husband and two children – served three tours in Afghanistan between 2004 and 2009, when she flew combat search-and-rescue and medevac missions. In 2009, she was shot down and wounded during a mission, earning a Purple Heart and a Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor Device for her actions to save her crew and patients.
In 2012, Hegar filed a lawsuit against the Secretary of Defense that was part of the movement that ultimately led to the Combat Exclusion Policy, banning women from certain military positions, being deemed unconstitutional.
Her new video points to the enthusiasm and support garnered from Hollywood when she ran against Rep. Carter. She was running at the same time that Beto O’Rourke was running against Senator Ted Cruz. She benefitted from voter enthusiasm on the Democrat side, that’s true. O’Rourke also came within 3 points of defeating his Republican opponent. Texas is now a battleground state, as odd as that sounds to most Republicans after Republican dominance electorally for so many years. Schumer is looking to use this new reality to his advantage and pick up a Senate seat from Texas.
Senator Cornyn won his last race in 2014 with over 60% of the vote. He is more popular among Texas Republicans than Senator Cruz is, which will help him in 2020. President Trump will be at the top of the ticket and though he isn’t overwhelmingly popular with Texas Republicans, he did win by a 9% margin over Hillary Clinton in 2016.
First Hegar must win the Democrat primary. She’ll need that Hollywood money again. Senator Cornyn has the advantage of the incumbency and a sizable war chest of $7.4 million.