As Hegar receives key endorsement, opponents go on the attack

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Texas candidates for U.S. Senate did not mince words about the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the chief fundraising committee of Senate Democrats that endorsed MJ Hegar on Monday in the race to replace Sen. John Cornyn.

“The DSCC endorsement is tone-deaf to the diverse Texas electorate,” said organizer and candidate Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez in an email reacting to the news. “They have decided to ignore several more qualified and experienced candidates of color, who have done the work to transform the politics of our state, in favor of a former Republican.”

Tzintzún Ramirez’s jab at Hegar as a “former Republican” refers to the former Air Force helicopter pilot’s participation in the 2016 GOP primary. Hegar said on Monday, as she has previously, that she voted in the Republican primary for Carly Fiorina to prevent Donald Trump from receiving the nomination. 

Other candidates also weighed in on the key endorsement, including State Senator Royce West who issued a statement saying the DSCC was “trying to lock African Americans out of the process” and said the endorsement was “a slap in the face to 11.6 percent of our state’s population that identifies as African American.”

Houston City Councilwoman Amanda Edwards went after the DSCC, tweeting, “We are quite confident Texas Democrats will decide for themselves who faces John Cornyn, irrespective of Washington insiders attempting to put a thumb on the scale.”

“Hegar’s message of opposing tough stances on gun violence and opposing impeachment to hold Donald Trump accountable is not what Democrats or any forward-thinking Texans want to see,” said former Congressman Chris Bell also reacting to the endorsement. 

The DSCC’s endorsement of Hegar comes several months after U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) met with Hegar to discuss her run for U.S. Senate. West had also previously met with Schumer and DSCC staff.

In their endorsement, the DSCC said “Texas has emerged as a battleground opportunity” and that Hegar was the “strongest candidate to flip the U.S. Senate seat.” The group pointed to her positions on healthcare and climate change as standout reasons for supporting her. 

Almost 60% of Democratic voters in Texas haven’t made up their minds on whom they’re supporting in the U.S. Senate primary. So far, it’s a wide open race. 

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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