Nonpartisan political report shows race tightening between MJ Hegar and Sen. John Cornyn of Texas

click to enlarge Nonpartisan political report shows race tightening between MJ Hegar and Sen. John Cornyn of Texas
Wikimedia Commons / Gage Skidmore (left) and Courtesy Photo / MJ Hegar Campaign (right)
The nonpartisan Cook Political Report has shifted November's U.S. Senate race in Texas from a "Likely Republican" rating to the less-of-a-sure-thing "Leans Republican" category.

The change reflects a solid fundraising gain by Democrat MJ Hegar, a decorated Air Force helicopter pilot who faces Sen. John Cornyn, a three-term GOP incumbent. While Hegar initially faced an uphill money battle, she raked in $13.5 million in the third quarter and has outspent her rival in airtime for the past two weeks.

Signaling concern in the Cornyn camp, the senator — who's so far shown a reluctance to speak up against President Trump, even including his most outrageous public statements — recently told the Houston Chronicle that the commander in chief "let his guard down" on the pandemic, Cook reports.

"I've never seen it like this before. Republicans are just in trouble everywhere," a top Republican pollster told Cook. "Some of it's Trump and some of it's the Democratic money machine. It's just not a pretty sight. Anywhere I'm polling, the Democrats are either competitive or ahead. It's all bad. There are no shards of good news."

The GOP had hoped hearings to approve conservative Amy Coney Barrett on the U.S. Supreme Court could pull in additional support and cash, but Cook's analysis suggests neither of those are moving as much as party leaders hoped.

Even though polling from both parties show a tightening Senate race in Texas, the odds remain in Cornyn's favor. Public polls put the incumbent with a high single-digit lead, up 7.6 points in a RealClearPolitics average.

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Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.

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