After beating Texas State Senator Royce West in the Democratic Primary run-off in July, former combat veteran MJ Hegar now faces incumbent Senator John Cornyn in the November general election. Cornyn has represented Texas in the United States Senate since 2002 and is seeking his fourth term. MJ Hegar previously ran for TX-31 against Republican Congressman John Carter, where she closed an almost 15 point Republican advantage.
“As a young girl, MJ’s dreams of becoming a military pilot were dismissed with claims that “the front is no place for a woman.” Unwilling to back down, MJ became a commissioned officer in the Air Force after graduating from the University of Texas. She was selected for a highly competitive spot in the pilot training program, where she graduated at the top of her class. MJ went on to serve three tours in Afghanistan as a combat search and rescue and medevac pilot.
“During a rescue mission in Afghanistan, MJ’s helicopter was destroyed by the Taliban, and she was injured by enemy gunfire. MJ received the Purple Heart for her injuries, and she is one of only a few women to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor for her actions saving the lives of her crew and patients.”MJ Hegar Campaign
After being injured, Hegar was unable to fly again, but also was not allowed to complete for a ground combat position because she was a woman. She directly lobbied her Congress members to change the outdated policy and was successful. But along the way, she realized the amount of corruption and dysfunction in Washington. This encouraged her to seek public office and be a champion to her home community.
Hegar’s endorsements include EMILY’s List, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the Human Rights Campaign, Moms Demand Action and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC).
“Hegar is not what most people would consider a natural politician. Whatever word best describes the opposite of slippery, that’s Hegar. She is direct, earnest, and, above all, serious. She is a woman who has ventured into the dark places and now wants to fight for a better world. But as a Democrat in red-state Texas, that’s tough. In 2018, she ran for Congress in Texas’ 31st Congressional District, narrowly losing to incumbent Republican John Carter. Now she’s trying to unseat Cornyn, whom Hegar calls “a spineless bootlicker” of President Trump. It’s a long-shot campaign — Cornyn is one of the Texas good ol’ boys, with plenty of campaign cash and powerful friends. But the political dynamics are rapidly shifting in the state, driven by disgust for Trump’s lies and Gov. Greg Abbott’s fumbling of the pandemic response, which turned the Lone Star State into a Covid-19 hotspot.”Jeff Goodell, Rolling Stone
If elected, she hopes to focus on progressive issues such as a Medicaid public option, defending a women’s right to choose, taking robust action against climate change and defending LGBTQ+ rights. In addition, she hopes to bring a sensible perspective to the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In polling conducted in late July by DSCC, Cornyn was barely leading Hegar, 43% to 42% among likely voters. Despite, 15% of Texans still undecided, Hegar hopes that the investments made by the Biden campaign will help to close that gap as well.
To learn more about MJ Hegar and her campaign, click here.