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Texas 2020 Elections

MJ Hegar nearly doubles John Cornyn's third-quarter fundraising in U.S. Senate race, erasing his cash-on-hand advantage

The Democratic challenger raised $14 million to $7.2 million for the Republican incumbent, and she has $8.5 million cash on hand to his $8 million.

Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and challenger MJ Hegar face off in a Nexstar televised debate on Oct. 9, 2020, a…

MJ Hegar, the Democrat running against U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, nearly doubled Cornyn's fundraising over the past three months and has eliminated his long-running cash-on-hand advantage.

That's according to the third-quarter reports that the two filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission, hours ahead of the end-of-day deadline.

Hegar, the former Air Force helicopter pilot, raised $14 million from July 1 through Sept. 30, while Cornyn collected $7.2 million. She ended the period with $8.5 million in reserves, while he had $8 million.

Hegar's campaign previously announced that she had raised at least $13.5 million in the third quarter and came out of it with over $8 million cash on hand. While Cornyn declined to release his numbers prior to filing with the FEC on Thursday, he admitted she soundly outraised him for the period and "basically wiped out our cash advantage."

Throughout most of the race, Cornyn maintained millions more dollars in the bank than Hegar or any of the other Democrats who had competed for their party's nomination. He held a wide cash-on-hand lead as recently as the second quarter, ending it with $14.5 million in the bank to less than $1 million for Hegar, who was still trying to win her July primary runoff at that point.

Hegar's $14 million haul helped her suddenly eclipse Cornyn in cash on hand, though so did his massive spending over the past three months. He spent $13.7 million, or nearly double what he raised, while Hegar had $6.4 million in expenses, or less than half of her fundraising.

Hegar's fundraising momentum is the latest sign of an increasingly competitive race, even as polls continue to give Cornyn single-digit leads. Earlier Thursday, Senate Majority PAC, the chief Democratic super PAC in U.S. Senate contests, announced it was launching an $8.6 million TV ad blitz against Cornyn.

Cornyn's campaign and a pro-Cornyn super PAC have also gone on the attack against Hegar in recent days. And on Tuesday, the Cook Political Report shifted its rating of the race from "Likely Republican" to "Lean Republican."

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