Tag Archives: Sen. John Cornyn

Texas Race Forming

By Jim Ellis

Texas Sen. John Cornyn (R)

April 25, 2019 — Three-term Texas Sen. John Cornyn (R) is obviously anticipating a tough 2020 fight for re-election. During this year’s first quarter, he led all incumbents in fundraising bringing in $7.8 million to his campaign account and ending the period with $7.4 million cash-on-hand.

It appears the senator will have credible opposition, but quite possibly not the person who most people believed would enter the race.

Though he still hasn’t confirmed or denied that he will become a Senate candidate, reading the figurative political tea leaves suggests that Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) will not run statewide. But, retired Army helicopter pilot, M.J. Hegar (D), will challenge the veteran incumbent who was Texas’ attorney general and a state Supreme Court Justice before running for federal office.

Hegar, who raised more than $5.12 million for her race against veteran Rep. John Carter (R-Round Rock), to whom she lost, announced Tuesday that she is entering the Texas Senate campaign. Though her 2018 announcement video entitled “Doors” (below) — which detailed her wartime heroism and attracted more than 3 million viewers — didn’t result in victory in a strong Republican district against a popular incumbent (she lost 51-48 percent), it did put her on the national political map and raised her status to that of a national congressional candidate and led to her strong fundraising effort.


M.J. Hegar’s “Door” video


Earlier in the year, Rep. Castro began making statements strongly hinting that he would run for the Senate. But, his actions and the latest developments suggest otherwise.

First, there appears to be no internal momentum associated with his building a major campaign. Leading to that conclusion is Castro’s own first quarter fundraising support. From Jan. 1 through March 31, the four-term incumbent and former Texas state representative raised only $36,028 and has just $87,572 in his campaign treasury.
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2020 Senate Review – Part III

By Jim Ellis

March 27, 2019
— The third and final segment of our three-part Senate review covers the races alphabetically from North Carolina through Wyoming, with a re-visit to the new open seat in New Mexico:

  • New Mexico – Sen. Tom Udall (D)Open Seat – Since our Senate review began, Sen. Udall, who looked to be a lock for election to a third term, announced he will not run in 2020. Democrats will be favored to hold the seat, but Republicans have won statewide races here as late as 2014, so the potential for a competitive 2020 campaign exists.
    So far, Attorney General Hector Balderas (D) and US Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-Nambe/Santa Fe) both confirm they are considering running, as is 2018 Republican nominee Mick Rich. Two individuals have already said they will not enter the Senate race: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) and Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber (D). Many more potential candidacies from both parties are being discussed. Currently, this open seat earns at the very least a Lean Democrat rating but is realistically Likely Democratic.

  • North Carolina – Sen. Thom Tillis (R) – This will be a top-tier race, as are almost all North Carolina Senate races. Sen. Tillis ousted then-Sen. Kay Hagan (D) in 2014 in a state that has re-elected only one senator since the days of Sam Ervin (D) and Jesse Helms (R).
    The Democrats failed to recruit their top target in Attorney General Josh Stein (D), and so far, their field is second tier. Only Mecklenburg County commissioner-at-large Trevor Fuller (D) and state Sen. Erica Smith (D-Gaston) have declared their candidacy.
    Sen. Tillis received pushback for originally opposing President Trump’s emergency border declaration, which has fueled rumors of a potential primary challenge. Therefore, the North Carolina campaign is in a state of flux. Much will change here in the coming year to affect the outcome. Currently, rate this seat as Lean Republican.

  • Oklahoma – Sen. Jim Inhofe (R) – The major discussion surrounds whether 84-year-old veteran Sen. Inhofe will retire. If he runs, the election campaign may be slightly more competitive based upon the 2018 Oklahoma results, in which the Democrats made some significant gains. Even if they continue to build momentum, their chances of winning a statewide election in the Sooner State still remain slim. Likely Republican until it becomes clear whether or not Sen. Inhofe will seek re-election.

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What to Expect

We’re back after going dark briefly over the Christmas holiday. (No, just in case you were wondering, we’re not part of the government shutdown.) We trust that you are rested, recharged and ready for the new year and the ever-evolving political developments that will come.

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 2, 2019 — We kick off a new calendar and political year looking at several anticipated events. On the presidential front, we can expect several candidate announcements coming in January, along with a changing primary/caucus schedule. Additionally, some close losing congressional candidates are already declaring they want a re-match.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) began the new year by forming a presidential exploratory committee and stating that she would begin her potential national campaign with a four-city information-gathering tour in Iowa, site of the first presidential votes scheduled for early February of 2020.

Four potential Democratic candidates are reportedly close to hiring key personnel either as national managers or Iowa state leaders. Aside from Sen. Warren, Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), are apparently poised to make staffing announcements possibly within the first two weeks of this new month and year.

An imminent presidential candidacy declaration is expected from former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro (D-TX), who formed an exploratory committee in early December. Rumors in Texas abound, however, that while Castro may begin to compete in the presidential race he could pivot out of the national campaign and into a US Senate challenge against Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) if he fails to gain traction.

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Challengers Chances in Virginia’s Tuesday Primary; Quiet in South Carolina; First Iowa Numbers

Tomorrow’s Virginia primary is decision day for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s Republican primary challenge. Conservative college professor David Brat has raised over $200,000 with minimal outside support for his effort to dislodge the sitting incumbent, but he is very likely to meet the same fate as the others who have challenged the national Republican leaders.

Earlier in the primary season, senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY; 60 percent of the vote) and John Cornyn (R-TX; 59 percent) were renominated against challengers from the right, as was House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH-8; 69 percent).

Rep. Cantor is outspending Brat by more than a 20:1 ratio, and has taken a surprisingly active and negative track in this campaign. His strategy is an interesting one in that he is attempting to deflect a hard right offensive by portraying Brat as being insufficiently conservative. Naturally, Brat makes the same argument against Cantor.  Continue reading >

Texas Results: Hall Falls, Dewhurst Crushed

Venerable Rep. Ralph Hall (TX-4-R), who at 91 years of age is the oldest member in the history of the House of Representatives, lost his bid for a 19th term last night in the Texas Republican run-off. Hall becomes the first federal incumbent to lose a bid for renomination during this election cycle. Fifty-two other senators and representatives of both parties have been renominated in the early primaries against competition of varying strength.

Former US Attorney John Ratcliffe (R) scored a 53-47 percent victory last night after holding Hall to 46 percent in the primary election. True to form, when an incumbent is forced to a run-off, he or she invariably loses. In this case, because Hall had received endorsements from the losing candidates in the March 4 Texas primary and was drawing renewed respect for his longevity of service, and that he is the last remaining World War II veteran in Congress, many believed he had the opportunity and ability to reverse the normal post-primary electoral trend. But, such was not to be.

As is typical in Texas nominating elections, turnout was extremely low, only 42,139  Continue reading >

Wendy Davis’s Potential Problem

While the major news media is covering Sen. John Cornyn’s (R) strong win in Tuesday night’s Texas primary, a different story lies beneath the surface in the Lone Star state’s Democratic gubernatorial primary.

State Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Ft. Worth) easily won her party’s nomination for governor attracting 78.4 percent of the vote, but she did lose 25 counties to an opponent, Reynaldo “Ray” Madrigal, who was virtually a candidate in absentia. Though losing 25 of 237 counties is an insignificant number in and of itself, the location of her under-performing entities is what could pose her an additional general election problem.

It is clear that Sen. Davis begins this race as an underdog to Attorney General Greg Abbott, who captured 91.5 percent of the Republican primary vote. Texas hasn’t elected a Democrat to any statewide office since 1990. It hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter carried the state in 1976. Lloyd Bentsen is the last Democratic US senator voted into  Continue reading >

Texas Tallies: Cornyn Wins Easily, Hall in Run-off

Senate

The first-in-the-nation primary vote was held yesterday, and few surprises were noted. Sen. John Cornyn (R), facing seven Republican opponents including Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX-36), was successfully renominated capturing 58.7 percent of the vote with just over 90 percent of the vote counted at this writing. Rep. Stockman scored 18.8 percent, and Tea Party favorite Dwyane Stovall posted 10.6 percent.

With Stockman entering late and virtually disappearing on the campaign trail and Stovall raising very little money, what could have become a serious intra-party challenge to the two-term senator fizzled. Now, Cornyn looks forward to romping home in the general election.

For the Democrats, North Texas dentist David Alameel, a former congressional candidate, fell just short of winning the  Continue reading >