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Race for the Senate in Texas: Talking to both candidates on the ballot

MJ Hegar is trying to unseat three-term Republican Sen. John Cornyn.

HOUSTON — KHOU 11 News is looking at some of the biggest races and biggest topics surrounding the 2020 election. One of the races every Texan will have the chance to vote for is the race for a seat in the United States Senate.

The last race in 2018 between incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz and former Rep. Beto O'Rourke was a hard-fought fight. One the Cruz ultimately won. MJ Hegar thinks her race will be different this year.

“I think we have a very good shot of winning because of the grassroots enthusiasm and momentum across the state that did start with Beto’s race, and my race, and others," Hegar said in a Zoom interview with KHOU.

Hegar ran for Congress in 2018 but was defeated. Running on her record as a combat veteran, she’s now trying to unseat three-term Republican Sen. John Cornyn.

“He is disconnected from the challenges you and I face, that’s why he spreads misinformation about the pandemic,” Hegar said.

Hegar said she's frustrated by what she calls a lack of crisis management surrounding COVID-19. She made healthcare the centerpoint of her campaign. Although she hasn’t come close to O'Rourke's fundraising, it is a presidential election, which means more voter turnout in a state Democrats want to turn blue.

Cornyn said he thinks there is a chance the state changes, but it would be because he and the Republican Party didn't do what they needed to do.

“I do think there’s a chance, but it would be primarily because people like me didn’t do our job," Cornyn said.

He believes he's the consistent choice for voters. He said he's someone who understands what has made Texas’ economy an envy of the nation.

“My opponent doesn’t believe in the energy policy that’s produced the greatest renaissance in natural gas and oil in our lifetime," Cornyn said.

Whoever wins will have a vote in the Senate on future Supreme Court nominees.

“This Senate seems to have more urgency, rushing through a nominee to a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land and no urgency on passing COVID stimulus relief,” Hegar said.

“When you have the majority of the Senate and the White House, it’s only to be expected that if the president makes a nomination we will consider it and that’s what we are going to do," Cornyn said.