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TX-Sen: “In Texas, Cornyn v. Hegar is epicenter of battle over coverage for preexisting conditions”

5 min read

The Houston Chronicle highlights how the Supreme Court vacancy is reigniting the health care debate in the U.S. Senate race between incumbent U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R. TX) and veteran MJ Hegar (D. TX):

The Supreme Court vacancy stands to alter the Senate race more than just about any other in Texas, as the chamber will decide whether to put Trump’s nominee on the high court.

Hegar’s campaign says she received more than 200,000 donations over the weekend following Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death. She also stands to gain as outside groups buy ads targeting Cornyn, including Protect Our Care, a Democratic advocacy group focused on defending the ACA.

“No one has been a stauncher advocate against the Affordable Care Act,” said Anne Shoup, a spokeswoman for Protect Our Care. “Really, truly, his record just goes back to the beginning.”

When the GOP tried in 2017 to repeal the ACA, Cornyn served as Republican whip, responsible for rounding up the votes to get it done. Politico deemed him “Obamacare repeal’s top salesman,” a title Hegar has repeated time and again throughout the race.

That’s a hard reality and Cornyn isn’t willing to face it:

Asked if getting a justice on the court by the election increases pressure on Republicans to come up with an ACA replacement, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said that, “I know that’s the talking points for the Democrats, but I don’t see those as directly related.”

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), who like Cornyn and Thune, is also a member of GOP Senate leadership, leaned into the idea that it’s not yet certain that Trump’s nominee would be on the court on time to hear the case.

“Whether the court hears on the day they’re scheduled — and hard to imagine we’d have somebody on the court by the day they’re scheduled to hear the case — so I don’t know how that works out,” he said.

The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin thinks Cornyn could pay severely at the polls:

Then you drop down to seats that you would not normally expect to flip, except in the not insignificant chance Trump loses in a landslide (in part because demoralized Republican voters don’t show up at the polls — and were told not to vote by mail!). In Kansas, state Sen. Barbara Bollier (D), a physician and former Republican, is running nip and tuck against Republican Rep. Roger Marshall, who was actually the candidate national Republicans wanted in the primary (as opposed to the toxic Kris Kobach). And then there is Texas, where Biden is essentially tied with Trump. Normally, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) would be an easy winner, but on everything from DACA to repeal of Obamacare, he is finding himself on the defensive. His opponent, MJ Hegar, a veteran, recently declared, “I am a pilot who was shot down, and that means that our commander in chief thinks that I’m a loser, and, you know, more importantly, when I heard these comments … I flashed back to the friends that I’ve lost, to their children that I’ve had to watch grow up remotely on social media, the men and women I’ve medevaced off the battlefield, that were wounded or were killed.” Whether that is enough to drag Cornyn down remains to be seen.

Texas is up for grabs this year because people are motivated to vote:

Cecelia Flores knows that voting turnout among her fellow Alabama-Coushatta Tribe members in East Texas has traditionally been low.

The chairperson for the federally recognized tribe said most people in her community don’t see how the federal government impacts what they prioritize most: work and livelihood.

Then, an electronic bingo facility run by the tribe, which employs over 700 locals, was threatened with being forced to close when conflicting federal laws raised questions about whether the game could be offered there. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to protect the facility in July 2019, but the legislation was opposed by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican who is up for reelection in November.

“This matter is currently the subject of litigation in federal court,” Cornyn wrote last October. “In light of these legal and policy disagreements between the Texas state government and these tribes, I request any committee hearings concerning this legislation be postponed until these parties have reached a resolution or agreement.”

Now, Flores said she and other members of the Tribal Council are hoping to increase tribe members’ voter participation in hopes that Texans in Congress take the tribe’s issues more seriously — and support legislation they need.

And Beto O’Rourke has been Biden’s biggest ally into flipping Texas Blue:

Now he’s turned the enormous army of volunteers he assembled for the 2018 Senate race into a political campaigning force. Powered by People, as he calls his political action committee, has 6,000 volunteers who have in turn registered to vote about 80,000 Texans and made more than 25m phone and text contacts with potential Democratic voters.

Much of his work with Powered by People has focused on Latino Texans living along the Mexican border in the Rio Grande Valley. His aim is to mobilise their vast and largely untapped electoral potential.

The political soil of the Rio Grande Valley should be fertile for Democrats given that Texas’s largely Spanish-speaking border communities have borne the brunt of the Trump assault over the past four years. It was here that Trump’s brutal family separation policy was concentrated, that migrant families were held in cages, that six children died while in US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody, and that, away from the valley in El Paso, 23 Mexican-Americans and Mexican nationals were gunned down by a white supremacist AK-47 wielding shooter echoing Trump’s racist language about a “Hispanic invasion”.

On top of all that, Latino communities in Texas have also been hit hardest by Covid-19, which has so far killed more than 14,000 people in the state.

Let’s keep up the momentum to flip Texas Blue.

Click here to register to vote.

Click here to sign up to be a poll worker.

Click below to donate and get involved with Hegar, Biden and their fellow Texas Democrats campaigns:

MJ Hegar

Joe Biden

Blue Texas PAC

Texas Democratic Party

Texas House Democratic Democratic Campaign Committee

Powered By People

Lulu Seikaly

Mike Siegel

Sima Ladjevardian

Wendy Davis

Sri Preston Kulkarni

Gina Ortiz Jones

Candace Valenzuela

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