U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is paying close attention to what happened in 2018 as he look's toward running for his fourth term in 2020.
Cornyn, who secured the endorsement of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, told NBC 5 that the state's Republicans will have to be ready to fight for their seats in two years due to the high voter turnout.
“Well I was riding that bus with Ted during his reelection, and I think we were all, I know I was, a little surprised by the voter turnout. When I ran for election in 2014, I think it was 4.7 million voters, and this year it was 8.3 roughly. That is a huge increase," Cornyn said.
Cornyn said the increase in voters could be driven by population growth spurred by Texas' favorable business climate.
"We have got a lot of people who moved to Texas from other places because we are creating jobs and we just can’t take it for granted anymore that Texas is going to be a reliably red state and we are going to have to run effective races," Cornyn said. "We are going to have to really up our game, because I think now the Democrats are emboldened and I expect to have a very substantial opponent in the general election in 2020."
"I am at the top of the ticket right below the president, so it is really important that we learn with Ted, and from Ted, what they learned in their campaign, but that we all work together to try to keep Texas red. But that is going to take quite a bit of work."
Cruz said he is ready to work with Cornyn for 2020 and has endorsed him.
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“Look, John is right that this last election we just had, they fired everything they had at us,” said Cruz, adding later. “Now fortunately we were able to turn out 4.2 million Republicans and that .2 million was the margin of victory. And the reason we were able to turn Republicans out is we barnstormed the state. You know in the last six weeks I think I did 50 rallies across the state. We did a bus tour. John joined me on that bus tour and it was all about energizing Texans to understand, look, the hard left is flooding the state with money. They are going to turn out in massive numbers, we got to make sure everyone else turns out. Now I think John is also right that that fight in 2018 set the stage for 2020. I fully expect the Democrats to come after John with everything they have got, to put a lot of money into this campaign. Now we are going to win this race, and I am proud to endorse John Cornyn for reelection. I am going to be campaigning with him. I am going to be supporting him just like he supported me in 2018. I am supporting him in 2020, and we need to keep the state of Texas red.
The senators spoke to NBC 5 about a variety of topics, including a potential government shutdown, the year ahead, and working together for Texas.
See the entire interview Sunday morning on Lone Star Politics at 8:30 am. on NBC 5.