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Inside Texas Politics: Cornyn says he's not distancing himself from Trump

"When we have those private conversations, the president always listens and sometimes changes his mind," Sen. John Cornyn said.

It’s been six years since Republican Sen. John Cornyn had to defend his seat. And plenty has changed in Texas since 2014.

Cornyn defeated his Democratic challenger by nearly 30 points in 2014. He doesn't expect that same cushion in 2020.

“I think it will be single digits," said Cornyn of his race against MJ Hegar. "As you pointed out, she’s outspending me 2-to-1 with all of this out-of-state money."

Some have questioned whether the senator has tried to distance himself from the president in his bid for re-election after Cornyn told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram editorial board he sometimes privately opposes President Donald Trump's decisions.

“I think what we found is that we’re not going to change President Trump. He is who he is," Cornyn told the Star-Telegram.

During an interview on Inside Texas Politics, Cornyn said, "I am not trying to distance myself from the president."

He clarified that in his comments to the editorial board he meant that he doesn't like to get into public Twitter disagreements with the president.

"When we have those private conversations, the president always listens and sometimes changes his mind," Cornyn said.

Texas, which was once reliably Republican, is turning into a battleground state during this election. Cornyn said he believes outsiders are trying to influence Texans.

"There are a lot of people from the East Coast and West Coast who'd like to change Texas, but I'm not for changing Texas. We know the Texas model works," he said.

But he said he's not worried.

"I'm proud of the campaign we've run. I think people know who I am. They understand that I believe in our great state and Texas exceptionalism," Cornyn said.

Watch this week's entire episode of Inside Texas Politics below:

Huge early voting turnout in Texas

Records in Harris County are falling left and right, and the blistering pace shows no signs of letting up.

In fact, Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins says they’ve been averaging up to 9,000 votes an hour.

For the first four days of early voting, there were more than 100,000 voters each day.

“Before this year, there was a single day in history where 100,000 Harris County voters had cast their votes through early voting,” Hollins said on Texas political podcast Y’all-itics.

Like other counties across the state, Collin County in North Texas is also seeing a record number of early voters.

Through the first 10 days of voting, nearly 312,000 people have already cast ballots in Collin County, either by mail or in-person.

RELATED: 9,000 votes an hour: Harris County residents are turning out to vote in droves

Four years ago, that number was 238,000, said Collin County Elections Administrator Bruce Sherbet.

And that means in 2020, more than 48% of registered voters in the county have already cast ballots.

In terms of mail-ins, Sherbet says, the ballot board has already processed 18,000 ballots, with 3,000 more to be processed.

Sherbet says voters waited no more than 20 minutes to cast ballots at any location in Collin County during the entire second week of early voting.

He does, however, recommend voters not wait to show up until the last day of early voting on Friday, Oct. 30.

Typically the last day of early voting is the busiest, and Sherbet doesn't expect it to be any different this year.

Dallas ISD voters asked to approve largest bond package in Texas history

With a price tag of $3.7 billion, the Dallas Independent School District is asking voters to approve the largest bond package in the history of Texas.

The district is looking to repair or replace old buildings, add technology to help with virtual learning, including laptops and wireless internet access, and create resource centers, also known as community hubs.

“We are critically addressing the facility needs that we’ve had for many, many years,” said Dallas school board member Miguel Solis.

When voters see the bond issue on the ballot, they will also notice a new disclaimer that claims it will be a property tax increase.

Solis says that’s not true, though.

He says when lawmakers passed school finance reform, they also required that this language be included, even though an entity might only be selling bonds, not raising taxes.

“More than anything else, it was just politics,” Solis said.

RELATED: Dallas ISD asks voters to approve $3.7 billion bond, largest in state history

Solis says fiscal hawks in the legislature wanted to include language based on the premise that if you issue debt, and that debt accumulates interest, then down the road that interest could possibly increase taxes.

But he said the way board trustees have structured the bond, a tax increase is unlikely.

“And because we’ve been so thoughtful, we can ensure that there won’t be a tax increase," Solis said. 

Can "deep MAGA country" help Biden in Texas?

Imagine for a moment: A group of Republicans trying to defeat a Republican incumbent in a deeply red state.

And not only that, but The Lincoln Project is also expecting some support from what a co-founder calls “deep MAGA country.”

“You can’t get to dead heats in Texas unless you’re losing, deteriorating with Republicans. You just can’t,” Mike Madrid said on Y’all-itics.

To listen to the full conversation on this week's episode of Y'all-itics, subscribe wherever you get your podcasts:

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