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Cornyn Bests Hegar, Winning Reelection To U.S. Senate Seat

Elizabeth Myong

John Cornyn is headed back to the U.S. Senate. He beat Democrat MJ Hegar by about 10 points. He thanked his family and said he’s committed to serving all Texans, whether or not they supported his re-election.

"My goal as your United States Senator is simple," Cornyn said. "Continue to make Texas a place of exceptional opportunity for all. In the next six years I look forward to our visits, our celebrations and working together to overcome whatever challenges comes our way."

Cornyn has been in the Senate for 18 years and this will be his fourth term. The race was initially seen as relatively safe for him, but attracted more spending and interest as the year progressed.

Hegar spoke earlier in the night, before the results were clear. She alluded to the coronavirus pandemic.

"America has faced challenges before, bigger than this one. I know it doesn’t feel like that but we have. We rise to the challenge, we meet that challenge."

Hegar is a decorated Air Force veteran. In a statement, she said, quote, “I am confident that the work we did will move our state forward for years to come.”

Cornyn spoke to reporters after Hegar conceded.

“Whatever hat we wear, we often find that despite our differences, we are united by our core values: faith, family and freedom. These are the tenets that have made Texas and our nation so successful,” he said. “And they're what guide me as I work hard to serve 29 million Texans. I'm glad we had this fight. It's a fight for the soul of our nation, and our state.”

The "soul of our nation" line echoes something former Vice President Joe Biden has often said on the campaign trail. Cornyn will likely finish ahead of where President Trump will finish in the presidential race in Texas, but called the senate race a "long shot" for Democrats.

“I think our friends on the other side had so much money, they had more money than they knew what to do with so they ended up investing in long shots in places like Texas,” Cornyn said.

Both campaigns had significant support of outside groups, according to Open Secrets.

In a statement, Hegar said, "I'm just one of the millions of Texans who saw the world we're giving our children and though 'hell no.'"

She credited her campaign with telling "a previously safe senator that he answers to us,” and said it will move the state forward.

Hegar narrowly lost a race for the U.S. House two years ago. In the Senate race, she faced a crowded primary and then a closer-than-expected runoff.

Cornyn has been among the leaders in the Senate and has been prominent in the quest to get conservative judicial nominees confirmed to the federal bench. He saw strong results from some suburban counties, powering his victory.

Got a tip? Email Bret Jaspers at bjaspers@kera.org. You can follow Bret on Twitter @bretjaspers.

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The Texas Tribune contributed to this story.

Copyright 2020 KERA

Bret Jaspers is a reporter for KERA. His stories have aired nationally on the BBC, NPR’s newsmagazines, and APM’s Marketplace. He collaborated on the series Cash Flows, which won a 2020 Sigma Delta Chi award for Radio Investigative Reporting. He's a member of Actors' Equity, the professional stage actors union.