Cornyn Projected Winner In Texas U.S. Senate Race

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TEXAS — Republican Incumbent John Cornyn is the projected winner in the race for the U.S. Senate seat he has held for three consecutive terms, sources including NBC and ABC announced on Tuesday.

Cornyn and Democratic challenger MJ Hegar were vying for one of Texas' two U.S. Senate seats; the other has been occupied by Republican Ted Cruz since 2013.

Patch will be updating with live results from Decision Desk HQ as they come in. Refresh for the latest returns in the Texas senate race:

R - Cornyn: 5,396,367
D - Hegar: 4,398,245

Mail-in ballots in Texas must be postmarked by Nov. 3 and must arrive by Nov. 4 to be counted. Preliminary totals may not include mail-in votes. An estimated 86 percent of votes have been counted as of writing. This story was last updated at 11:15 p.m.

Hegar addressed the projection Tuesday evening, writing in a statement that she is proud of the groundwork her campaign laid for future Texas Democrats.

"I’m not a career politician, running for U.S. Senate was never my plan," Hegar said. "I’m just one of the millions of Texans who saw the world we’re giving our children and thought ‘hell no.’ Together, we stood up and got to work, building a powerful grassroots campaign from the ground up, shattering voter turnout records, and most importantly sending a message to a previously safe Senator that he answers to us. I am confident that the work we did will move our state forward for years to come."

Texas's Democratic Party Chairman, Gilberto Hinojosa, echoed the candidate's sentiment, saying in a statement that her campaign "centered around our values and issues important to everyday Texans.

"Although we came up short, I am hopeful because we are marching towards victory and it is because of the hard work of candidates like MJ Hegar," Hinojisa's statement reads, in part. "She has contributed immensely to the shifting of Texas’ political landscape and has helped Texans get closer to having national leaders that represent the current and future population of Texas."

Texas has not had a Democratic senator since 1993, but that did not rule out the possibility of one winning the race in 2020.

On the state level, a sizable win in 2018 handed an additional 12 seats in the Texas House of Representatives to Democrats, giving them 67 of 150 seats. Democrats needed only nine more seats to have a majority in the House, and they targeted 22 districts on Election Day to make it happen.

What's more, in 2018, Cruz's Senate seat was nearly overturned by Democrat Beto O'Rourke, who lost the election by less than 3 percent of the vote.

Texas Democrats say a change in demographics and an increase in diversity in several historically Republican districts nearly set the stage for a blue victory in 2020.

To make sure you don’t miss out on the latest from election night, subscribe to our free real-time news alerts for the most up to date results and news.

Democratic nominee Hegar is a U.S. Air Force veteran and a recipient of the Purple Heart and Flying Cross with Valor. After she was honorably discharged following three tours of duty in Afghanistan, Hegar set to work to overturn policies that kept women out of certain military jobs.

She is now a speaker, author and working mother of two. Read more about Hegar via her Patch candidate profile.

Cornyn has held since 2002. He has served as a Bexar County district judge, a Texas Supreme Court justice and as Texas attorney general.

Cornyn, a father of two adult daughters, holds a Master of Laws degree from the University of Virginia. During his time in office, he has won awards including the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN) Crime Fighter Award and the Children At Risk Founders Award.

During his third senatorial term, Cornyn was elected to serve as Senate majority whip.

Cornyn did not submit a Patch candidate profile.

To make sure you don’t miss out on the latest from election night, subscribe to our free real-time news alerts for the most up to date results and news.

Cornyn and Hegar faced off last month during a U.S. Senate debate in Austin.

During the event, Cornyn claimed his opponent's views are too liberal for Texas, saying Democrats want to "make Texas more like California and New York," The Texas Tribune reported.

Hegar countered by saying the Republican is out of touch with Texas after nearly a decade in the Senate.

The debate covered several topics including the U.S. Supreme Court, criminal justice reform and the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of voters has grown drastically from those who turned out in Cornyn's last reelection in 2014. Then, about 4.6 million people voted in the U.S. Senate race. That number had more than doubled as of Friday — Texas's last day of early voting — to 9.6 million.

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This article originally appeared on the Austin Patch

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