TX-Sen: Data For Progress Poll Confirms A Toss Up Race Between MJ Hegar (D) & John Cornyn (R)

Some very encouraging news today out of Texas:

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Click here for the full results.

Yesterday’s UT Tyler poll showed a tightening race:

In his bid for a fourth term in the U.S. Senate against Hegar, Cornyn’s leads in prior polls were in the low double digits. Now, Hegar, the military veteran and political newcomer from Round Rock, has reduced it to high single digits. It’s 8 points, both among all voters (40-32) and likely voters (42-34), the poll found.

Still, though Cornyn’s not hugely popular, his underlying numbers may block his being overtaken by Hegar.

In September, the Republican incumbent’s favorability rating among all voters was positive by a net of 8 points. This month, Cornyn was viewed favorably by 43% and unfavorably by 30%, a net positive of 13 points. And the pool of voters who are undecided dipped by one-third, to 22%, leaving Hegar fewer fence-sitters to woo in pursuit of an upset.

“Cornyn’s persistent lead with voters that we polled shows that Texas voters are still willing to vote for Republican candidates,” Owens said.

Among all voters, Hegar is viewed favorably by 37%, and unfavorably by 27%.

Do they understand average Texans' concerns? That was a wash, the poll found. Cornyn’s score for relating to the common person was 53-40, Hegar’s 50-40.

Here’s some other polling today:

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— Political Polls (@Politics_Polls) October 26, 2020

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— Political Polls (@Politics_Polls) October 26, 2020

DKE teams points out something about the NYT/Siena College posting:

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Hegar has also been slamming Cornyn to CNN’s Don Lemon on this:

Lemon pointed to an ad from Hegar highlighting that she's a veteran and a Purple Heart recipient who's also raising two children during the COVID-19 pandemic. He asked Hegar about Cornyn's recent comments arguing Trump “is who he is. You either love him or hate him, and there's not much in between.”

Hegar had tweeted that Cornyn was a “coward” for trying to distance himself from the president.

“I just think it's too little, too late,” Hegar said. “I think that Texans have a very sensitive BS meter. I think we see right through it.

“We are very clearly seeing that John Cornyn doesn't serve Texans. He serves his party and his wealthy, corporate special interest donors and frankly, either he is wildly ineffective or lying.”

“Now, he's lied to us quite a bit, spread misinformation, he says things that are politically convenient that he wants to fight for, then he goes and votes against them. So we're used to being lied to but I think in this case it's a little bit of both,” Hegar said.

Also:

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— MJ Hegar (@mjhegar) October 22, 2020

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U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, the Republican incumbent, on Thursday launched a digital advertisement that featured several bleeped-out clips of his Democratic opponent, Air Force veteran MJ Hegar, using curse words at forums and in other public settings.

“Warning. Graphic language,” the ad begins.

“Here’s the truth, MJ,” Cornyn’s camp added on Twitter. “Texans DO … care … about who represents them, and in these times, they need a leader with a steady hand who treats people with respect.”

Hegar’s response? A few more bleeps.

And now Cornyn’s trying to claim that he isn’t trying to run away from Trump:

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.

But here’s what this particular race has always been about; health care:

Texans account for close to 10% of all COVID-19 cases in the US, and about 12.5% of recorded COVID-19 deaths, according to the New York Times’ coronavirus data tracker. Some 898,000 of the 8.5 million people in the US who have had COVID-19 were Texans, and 17,800 of the 223,948 Americans who have died of the virus came from Texas. In recent days, cases are beginning to rise sharply again in parts of the state.

At the same time, Texans are less likely than people in any other state to have health insurance — and that was before the sweeping job losses that they endured as a result of the pandemic. One study found that just between March and May, even before the COVID-19 spike hit Texas in late July, around 1.6 million Texans likely lost health insurance after losing their jobs.

The Supreme Court case challenging the Affordable Care Act, which will be the first case justices hear after the election, was filed by Texas Republicans. Cornyn took on a central role advocating for the Senate GOP’s ACA repeal bill in 2017, which narrowly failed to pass. As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he has also played an important part in Trump’s court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation process this month.

The fight in the Senate over Coney Barrett’s confirmation comes to a head next week, providing Hegar with another clear line of attack over an issue that’s been central to her campaign for months: healthcare, the Affordable Care Act, and how Texans have suffered from COVID.

Although Hegar said she thinks healthcare and the economy are generally more pressing issues for Texas voters than what’s happening with the Supreme Court, healthcare is central to what’s at stake with SCOTUS.

As a result, there’s a third figure whose influence in the race neither candidate can ignore: Coney Barrett.

“It’s ACA vs. ACB, I guess,” Cornyn joked during one confirmation hearing for Coney Barrett last week, suggesting that Democrats were raising the Affordable Care Act in the hearings without a real basis for concern.

Hegar’s campaign clipped the remark and tweeted, “Your little line isn’t cute, John, it’s potentially deadly for 5 million Texans with pre-existing conditions.”

“People clearly see that it's about tearing down the Affordable Care Act,” Hegar said this week, of the Senate GOP push to confirm Coney Barrett.

It’s very clear that Texas is in play and the Biden campaign know it:

Kamala Harris, Joe Biden’s running mate and the California U.S. senator, will be visiting Texas on Friday, according to an email Biden’s campaign sent to Democratic lawmakers in Texas on Sunday.

Harris will be the highest-profile representative of the Biden campaign to visit Texas in person during the general election, though his campaign was already set to spend millions of dollars on TV ads in Texas.

“Allow me to provide as a courtesy, the below in person travel notification for Sen. Kamala Harris which will be publicly released momentarily,” the email reads. “Sen. Kamala Harris will be personally traveling to Texas on Friday – October 30. 2020.”

Her visit comes as polls project a tight presidential race in Texas. According to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll, Trump leads Biden in the state by 5 percentage points. Trump won Texas by 9 points in 2016.

Click here to sign up to be a poll worker in Texas.

Let’s keep up the momentum to flip Texas Blue. Click below to donate and get involved with Biden, Hegar and their fellow Texas Democrats campaigns:

MJ Hegar

Joe Biden

Blue Texas PAC

Texas Democratic Party

Texas House Democratic Democratic Campaign Committee

Lulu Seikaly

Mike Siegel

Sima Ladjevardian

Wendy Davis

Sri Preston Kulkarni

Gina Ortiz Jones

Candace Valenzuela