Senate Candidate MJ Hegar Gets DSCC Endorsement

The campaign arm of Senate Democrats is backing Hegar in the crowded primary

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The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee endorsed MJ Hegar in the race for U.S. Senate in Texas. The DSCC is the campaign arm of the Democrats in the Senate.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, Chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, issued the following endorsement of decorated combat veteran Hegar in the senate race:

“Texas has emerged as a battleground opportunity for Democrats up and down the ballot, and MJ Hegar is the strongest candidate to flip the U.S. Senate seat. As a decorated combat veteran and working mother, MJ has both the courage and independence to put Texas first and is running on the issues that matter most to Texans: making health care and prescription drugs more affordable, protecting coverage for Texans with pre-existing conditions, and taking action to address climate change. We are proud to support MJ in her fight to continue her public service in the U.S. Senate.”

Hegar ran against Congressman John Carter for the Round Rock congressional seat. It was a close race in a reliably red district.

"As a rescue helicopter pilot flying wildfire suppression missions, I was trained to find the biggest bucket of water and use it to put out the biggest fire we could find. I got into this race because that fire is in the Senate, and it is my duty to do what I can to fix it,” Hegar said in a statement. “Over the last several months, we have built a Texas-sized grassroots campaign raising millions of dollars and traveling over 11,000 miles across the state meeting with people from all backgrounds about how we can work to solve the challenges we are facing. In order to get any progress on health care, climate change, immigration, or gun violence, we need to defeat Senator Cornyn and get more regular people like me representing us in Washington - a working mom who has served our country and has faced the same challenges that working families across Texas are facing.”

She is in a field of 12 who are listed as running on the Secretary of State’s website. Several candidates fired back at the endorsement.

Candidate Christina Tzintzún Ramirez is calling for the DSCC to retract their endorsement. Her campaign manager David Sanchez released this statement.

“The DSCC endorsement is tone-deaf to the diverse Texas electorate. They have decided to ignore several more qualified and experienced candidates of color, who have done the work to transform the politics of our state, in favor of a former Republican. Cristina has worked for over a decade and a half with people across the state, helping to change laws to protect the rights of hundreds of thousands of workers, and mobilizing young Latinos to turn out to vote. She has constantly stood up for the rights of workers, immigrants, and people of color, but the DSCC has decided to write off voters of color and ignore the candidates speaking up for them. It is disappointing that the national Democratic establishment is so afraid of progressive ideas that it will not even give Texas voters a chance to hear them. At a time when the energy is in the progressive wing of the party, they have decided that they know better. We look forward to continue listening to actual Texans, and fight for the bold progressive agenda that inspires and excites them."

Candidate Royce West released a statement, as well, saying: “The DSCC is trying to lock African-Americans out of the process. That is a slap in the face to 11.6 percent of our state’s population that identifies as African-American. However, we will not be locked out of this process. African-Americans will turn out in large numbers and they will vote their conscience, and not the DSCC’s choice, of that, I am confident.”

Candidate Amanda Edwards said of the endorsement: "We are quite confident Texas Democrats can and will decide for themselves who faces John Cornyn, irrespective of those outside of Texas attempting to put a thumb on the scale. Texans will elevate a true servant leader who will be able to galvanize both base Democratic voters as well as persuadable voters in the middle. You must do both in order to win."

Former Congressman Chris Bell: "Senator Schumer and the DSCC’s recent endorsement of my opponent MJ Hegar is another unfortunate attempt by Beltway politicians and insiders to tip the scales of democracy for what they think is best for Texas. Supporting a former Republican and avowed Conservative who opposes commonsense gun safety laws is the wrong answer for the Democratic Party to take on Senator John Cornyn. Rolling out this endorsement in between two holidays and before the New Year only draws attention to the fact that recent polls continue to show that, despite her campaign having already spent well over a million dollars, her support is slipping as Texans learn more about her candidacy. Hegar’s message of opposing tough stances on gun violence and opposing impeachment to hold Donald Trump accountable is not what Democrats or any forward-thinking Texans want to see. Texans want to see strong leadership with bold progressive proposals, not cautious and conservative talking points from the eventual Democratic nominee. As the only candidate who has been to Congress and run statewide, my record shows I am the most prepared to take down Cornyn and make lasting progressive change that will make our communities safer and our nation stronger. Texas Democrats will do the right thing."

Cornyn’s campaign did not comment, but James Dickey, chairman of the Republican party of Texas did. “Texans knew from day one that Hollywood Hegar was the handpicked candidate of Chuck Schumer. Democrats talk about diversity in their party, yet this latest move proves they are all talk and no action. Last we checked, there was an African-American state senator, African-American city councilwoman, and a Latina liberal activist running in the Democratic primary, as well, and yet Schumer is pushing them aside for MJ Hegar – who’s only notable claim to political fame is losing a Congressional race in spite of raising an absurd amount of money from outside Texas."

The National Republican Senatorial Committee also weighed in on the development. "We think Texas Democrats said it best just last month, their 'Senate field [is] too weak to beat Republican incumbent John Cornyn,'" said NRSC spokesperson Joanna Rodriguez. "National Democrats were desperate Beto O'Rourke or one of the Castro brothers would bail them out, but instead they've been forced to dismiss one of the most diverse fields in the country to do whatever they can to help Hollywood Hegar survive this brutal primary."

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