President Donald Trump on Thursday gave Texas Sen. John Cornyn his “complete and total endorsement” for re-election, saying his fellow Republican has “done an outstanding job for the people of Texas.”
That backing came by tweet, the president's favored medium for weighing in on political campaigns.
Trump — who's worked closely with Cornyn over the last two years — said the Texan is “strong on Crime, the Border, the Second Amendment and loves our Military and Vets.” The president concluded his tweet with his own campaign slogan: “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
The endorsement signals yet again how seriously Cornyn is taking his campaign after Sen. Ted Cruz last received a closer-than-expected challenge from former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn is telling supporters he is bracing for a re-election fight with Democrat Beto O’Rourke, even as most of the speculation around the former El Paso congressman has him running for the White House in 2020.
Cornyn, one of the top Republicans in the Senate, sent out a fundraising plea Wednesday saying U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and O’Rourke recently sat down to talk about running for the U.S. Senate in 2020. He said the two are collaborating “to paint a target on my back.”
In his letter, Cornyn says “all signs point to another well-funded, high stakes challenge from Beto in 2020. We need to be ready for anything. That’s why we’ve started a STOP BETO FUND – and that’s why I need you to chip in as soon as possible.”
Clicking on the link sends donors to Cornyn’s re-election fund.
Republicans nationwide have long used names like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former President Barack Obama to make such appeals. But after raising $80 million and coming within three percentage points of beating Sen. Ted Cruz in November, O’Rourke also has the name recognition to catch the attention of conservative voters.
O’Rourke is expected to make an announcement about his political future in the next week. Cornyn is striking before that suspense is gone.
Can’t say that I blame him. Cruz was an idiot who underestimated Beto. Cornyn’s not as dumb as Cruz so we will see. Beto, out of any Democratic candidate, has a bright future and a ton of options before him. But just in case he passes on challenging Cornyn, we have two other potentially strong candidates. First, there’s MJ Hegar (D. TX):
Military veteran MJ Hegar, a former U.S. House candidate, is seriously considering a run for the Democratic nomination to take on U.S. Sen. John Cornyn in 2020.
Hegar, who served in the Air Force in Afghanistan, ran unsuccessfully against U.S. Rep. John Carter of Round Rock last year for his Central Texas congressional seat.
“I'm not closing the door on anything,” she told The Texas Tribune on Tuesday.
“I'm considering my options and weighing what's best for my family and how to best serve my community,” she added. “I'm aware that I have assets. … I'd like to put those assets to use for my community.”
Those assets include her staggering fundraising capacity, as evidenced by her failed House race. Thanks to a viral biographical video, Hegar became a fundraising juggernaut and came within striking distance of winning a historically Republican seat.
While she came up three points short against Carter in November, she raised more than $5 million for her challenge against the longtime incumbent, an astronomical sum at that level of politics. Carter won his previous race in 2016 by 22 points.
Hegar is also considering a rematch against Carter. But for now, she's working for Hippo, a technology company that aims to help patients secure low-cost prescription drugs.
If O’Rourke challenges Cornyn instead of seeking the Democratic nomination for president, he would have the support of Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) — Julián Castro’s twin brother.
“Joaquin believes Beto could beat John in 2020, and if Beto decides to see this thing through and do that, then Joaquin will give him his full support, just like he did against Ted Cruz,” a source close to Castro told POLITICO. “Otherwise, Joaquin will absolutely consider jumping in and finishing the job.”
O’Rourke has said he would announce his presidential intentions by the end of the month.
Castro considered running against Cruz in 2018 but sat out the race, enabling O’Rourke, who proved to be a prolific fundraiser in his closer-than-expected race against Cruz, to avoid a serious primary. Cruz won reelection by less than 3 percentage points.
The Castro twins backed O’Rourke in 2018. They could, however, become competitors to O’Rourke in 2020 with Julián Castro running for president and Joaquin Castro chairing his brother’s presidential campaign.
Whatever decision Beto goes with I will fully support and I am happy to know there are other big-name Democrats who want to stand up to the plate and take on Cornyn. Stay tuned.