Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) drew another Democratic challenger on Thursday, as Houston City Councilwoman Amanda Edwards announced that she would try to topple the three-term incumbent next year.
If elected, Edwards would become the first African American woman to represent Texas in the Senate. She joins a growing Democratic primary field that already includes military veteran and former congressional candidate MJ Hegar.
“As a woman, as an African American, as a millennial — and in certainly as someone who generally . . . believes in solutions and not just rhetoric — I think I’m going to be the candidate that can do the job,” Edwards said in an interview with the Texas Tribune, arguing that she could “galvanize our base.”
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A Democrat has not represented Texas in the Senate since 1993, but changing demographics in the state and a strong challenge last year to Sen. Ted Cruz (R) by former congressman Beto O’Rourke (D) have raised the profile of next year’s race.
Cornyn, who has served in GOP leadership, won reelection in 2014 with more than 61 percent of the vote. As of June 30, he had more than $9 million in the bank for his 2020 race.
In a statement, Cornyn campaign manager John Jackson sought to portray Edwards as too liberal for the state.
“Councilwoman Edwards is a true progressive with a record that would make Elizabeth Warren jealous,” Jackson said, referring to the Democratic senator from Massachusetts. “We look forward to seeing which two liberals make the inevitable runoff.”
A spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee cast Edwards’s entrance into the race as a sign of weakness for Hegar, who was recruited to run by national Democrats.
“Everyone knows there is no telling Texans what to do — except apparently national Democrats who decided to rally behind a failed House candidate as their chosen one before other Texas Democrats even had a chance to consider their candidacy,” NRSC press secretary Joanna Rodriguez said in a statement. “Bless their hearts.”
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