MJ Hegar has raised $13.5 million in the last three months, providing a dramatic jolt of energy for her underdog campaign to deny U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a fourth term.
The campaign reported it has $8 million in cash on hand heading into the stretch.
Wednesday was the last day of the third fundraising quarter and Hegar’s campaign said she had raised nearly eight times more in the quarter than it had in its its previous best fundraising period. The campaign said it was still counting donations, and the total amount raised will be somewhat more than that. Fundraising reports for the quarter are due with the Federal Election Commission by Oct. 15.
The Cornyn campaign has not reported its fundraising numbers for the third quarter yet.
“I am humbled by the outpouring of grassroots support for our mission to ensure every Texan has access to affordable health care, equal rights, and that we all recover from the pandemic,” Hegar said in a statement. “Together our Texas-sized team will deliver a healthy dose of Texas values to DC and send Senator Cornyn packing on November 3.”
As of June 30, the end of the last fundraising period, Cornyn had $14.5 million in the bank, and Hegar, who didn’t earn the Democratic nomination until a July 14 runoff with state Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, had less than a million dollars.
The New York Times/Sienna College poll, conducted Sept. 16-22, found Cornyn with 43% to Hegar’s 37% among likely voters in Texas, In a Quinnipiac University poll conducted Sept. 17-21, Cornyn led Hegar with 50% to her 42%, with 7% undecided.
In both polls, Democratic nominee Joe Biden, who will be just above Hegar on the ballot, was running a closer race with President Donald Trump in Texas. Hegar’s biggest problem was that many voters – Quinnipiac put it at half of all likely voters – didnt know enough her to form an opinion.
It’s a problem cash can help solve.
The eye-catching new numbers are the kind that may draw other contributors, including national Democratic donors who have not been paying much attention to the Texas race.
Two years ago, Beto O’Rourke broke records raising more than $80 million in his close run against the state’s junior senator, Ted Cruz. Polls showed O’Rourke lagging by nine points at about the same place on the campaign calendar in 2018.
Hegar’s campaign reported that it raised more than $1 million the week after winning the runoff, and more than $7 million online in the month of September, the best online fundraising month of the campaign.
The campaign also said it had raised a half million dollars in the 48 hours after Hegar, a decorated Air Force helicopter pilot, condemned Cornyn for not chastising Trump for what The Atlantic magazine reported was his denigration of American World War I casualties buried in an American cemetery in France as “suckers” and “losers”
The campaign, which does not take any political action committee money, also said it had raised $200,000 in online donations in 72 hours following the death of Supereme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.