AUSTIN, Texas — Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn will keep his seat after Democrat M.J. Hegar conceded the race on Tuesday. With 43% of precincts reporting, Cornyn secured 52% of the vote in the U.S. Senate race.
Hegar called Cornyn at 8:20 p.m. to concede, Cornyn spokesman Travis Considine told the Associated Press.
This will be Cornyn’s fourth term as a U.S. senator for Texas. He was first elected to the Senate in 2002.
Many saw Hegar as a worthy opponent to Cornyn. She gained significant name recognition throughout her campaign and saw major success in fundraising. She also challenged Cornyn to three televised debates ahead of the election, though they only faced each other in one.
Ultimately, Texans chose Cornyn – something historians may not find too surprising. The formerly solid blue state of Texas started to shift red in the 1970s, pushing even further in the 1980s. In 1993, Republican Kay Bailey Hutchinson ended a 150-year streak of having at least one Democrat represent Texas in the Senate.
According to his website, Cornyn was born in Houston and raised in San Antonio, but moved around because his father was in the U.S. Air Force. He graduated from Trinity University with a degree in journalism, then attended St. Mary’s School of Law and joined a San Antonio law firm. In 1984, he won a state district judge seat in Bexar County, where he served for six years.
He was then elected to the Texas Supreme Court in 1990 and again in 1996. He earned a Master of Laws from the University of Virginia in 1995. In 1997, he resigned from the Texas Supreme Court and ran for Attorney General of Texas, becoming the first Republican to win that office since Reconstruction, according to his website. His Senate career began in 2002 and he was reelected in 2008, 2014 and now 2020.
In 2004, Cornyn co-founded the bipartisan Senate India Caucus, and in 2005, the Project on Government Oversight awarded Cornyn with the first Bi-Partisan Leadership Award. During his time as a senator, he has served on the committees of Budget, Finance and Judiciary. In 2014, he was elected by his peers to serve as the Majority Whip.
Cornyn supports maximizing Texas’s and America’s energy resource potential while minimizing federal regulation. He believes agriculture is a vital Texas industry and is “committed to ensuring Texas agricultural producers have a voice in the Senate.”
Cornyn has said, “When it comes to health care, Texans deserve lower costs, better coverage and greater access” and he believes the Affordable Care Act should be repealed and replaced.
He also believes local, state and federal authorities must work together to enforce the law and “must be given the legal tools and funding resources necessary to do their jobs well.” Following the Sutherland Springs shooting, Cornyn introduced the Fix NICS (National Instant Criminal Backgrund Check System) Act in 2017, which “strengthened the background check system to better prevent criminals from obtaining firearms.”
To read more on Cornyn’s stances on a variety of political issues, visit his website.
On Tuesday night, Cornyn said, "It is the honor of my life to serve Texas in the U.S. Senate. Inspired by your trust and your patriotism, I will continue to be a strong voice for our values in Washington. Thank you, Texas!"
Hegar released a statement, saying, “I’m not a career politician, running for U.S. Senate was never my plan. I’m just one of the millions of Texans who saw the world we’re giving our children and thought ‘hell no.’ Together, we stood up and got to work, building a powerful grassroots campaign from the ground up, shattering voter turnout records, and most importantly sending a message to a previously safe Senator that he answers to us. I am confident that the work we did will move our state forward for years to come.”
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