Democrat Mary Jennings “MJ” Hegar is the latest Democrat looking to clinch a Senate seat in red-state Texas, building off the momentum of the close and highly-watched 2018 race between Democrat Beto O’Rourke and Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.
This time, the target is Texas Sen. John Cornyn who has served in the Senate for 17 years. In his last race in 2014, Cornyn won with 61% of the vote against Democrat David Alameel.
But 2018’s Texas Senate race proved that the GOP may not have as much control over the Lonestar State as once believed. Cruz beat O’Rourke with just under 51% of the vote — a whole 10 points shy of Cornyn’s 2014 lead.
MJ Hegar announced Tuesday that she believes she’s the one that can finally take back Texas for the Democrats.
Military and political background
Her resume is impressive. Hegar is an Air Force veteran who was deployed to Afghanistan three times. During her third tour, her helicopter was shot down during a rescue mission. She was shot herself, but her team still managed to complete the rescue mission and avid the Taliban. She was awarded a purple heart in 2009.
Her first dip into politics happened in 2012 when she sued the Pentagon for their combat exclusion policy that barred women from serving in combat roles. Thanks in part to her efforts, the policy was overturned in 2013.
Hegar documented this background in her run for Congress in 2018. Her ad, which was filmed to appear in one continuous motion as she touted her combat history, gained viral attention, and received over 2 million views. She lost the race in November to Republican incumbent Rep. John Carter by just 3%.
Hegar released a similar ad to her 2018 hit on Tuesday, one that reflected on her loss but expressed hope she could win in 2020.
She didn’t shy away from criticizing her opponent. Hegar painted Cornyn as “that tall guy lurching behind Mitch McConnell in basically every single video.”
“Weakness, partisanship, gridlock: those are not Texas values, John. But maybe you’ve been in Washinton so long you’ve forgotten that.”
Watch the video below:
Hegar’s ad refers back to her successful 2018 video, titled “Doors” that helped boost her congressional campaign.