By Meredith Pratt | Staff Writer
Republican Sen. John Cornyn defeated Democrat MJ Hegar Tuesday night with 53.8% of the vote, recorded by the Texas secretary of state as of 11:30 p.m.
Hegar, who trailed by 10 points, called Cornyn at 8:20 p.m. to concede, Cornyn spokesman Travis Considine said.
“We’ve built a powerful grassroots movement from the ground up,” Hegar tweeted following her concession. “I know our fight here in Texas is far from over.”
Cornyn said in a news conference that whether-or-not he earned your vote, or you were “pulling for” his opponent, he is “honored and committed to serving and representing all Texans.”
“Serving as your state senator has been the privilege of my lifetime,” Cornyn said. “We’ve accomplished a lot together, but we have more to do.”
Baylor students had mixed feelings about Cornyn’s reelection.
Houston senior Cooper Mohrmann, a Republican voter, said he thought John Cornyn was the “best candidate to represent the great state of Texas.”
“John Cornyn represents the strong values that run deep in native Texans including faith, family and freedom,” Morhmann said. “I am excited to see John Cornyn help protect and propose legislation that will continue to allow Texas to thrive for years to come.”
Houston sophomore Trinity Seay, a Democratic voter, said she was “saddened” that Cornyn was reelected.
“I was hopeful for the opportunity to have my senator represent me as a female in a position of power,” Seay said. “I am inspired by MJ Hegar and feel empowered by women in politics who advocate for my rights including autonomy over my own body and my safety.”
Many Texans were curious if the 2020 race would be as close as the most recent senate election. In 2018, Republican incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz won with a slight lead of 50.9% of votes over Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke, who received 48.3%.
Leading up to Election Day, several polls favored Cornyn to win, ranging from a four to 10-point advantage.
Born in Houston and raised in San Antonio, Cornyn has served in the Senate for 18 years, representing Texas since 2002. In his most recent election in 2014, Cornyn won with 61.6% of the votes. In this election he was endorsed by President Donald Trump.
Cornyn made an appearance in McGregor on Super Tuesday earlier this year.
“[The Democrats] got so close in 2018 … you’re going to see a lot of money and a lot of effort trying to turn Texas from red to purple to a blue state,” Cornyn said.
His prediction was accurate, and his campaign fundraising was outraised by Hegar.
Hegar is a former Air Force pilot who received a Purple Heart award for sustaining injuries in combat in Afghanistan.
The two participated in a televised debate on Oct. 9.
The Libertarian candidate from Petersburg, McKennon, received 1.81% of the vote.
Mckennon prioritized “veteran’s affairs, immigration reform and addressing the opiod crisis.”
Collins, the Green Party candidate, received 0.68% of the vote.
Collins is originally from Stillwater, Okla., but now resides in Houston. He was also the party’s nominee in 2012. His platform included creating an “Eco-Socialist Green New Deal,” Medicare for all and putting an end to US military involvements.
Thirty-five of the 100 Senate seats were up for election this year. Republicans had almost twice as many seats up for grabs, defending 23 seats while the Democrats defended 12.
Prior to this election, Senate Republicans had a 53-45 majority over Democrats, with the remaining two seats belonging to Independents. As of 10:45 p.m. the New York Times predicted 45 seats as Republican and 44 as Democrat, with 11 seats awaiting certain states outcomes.
The next time a senate seat will be voted on in Texas will be in 2024 when Republican Sen. Ted Cruz is up for reelection.