Democrats Seem Intent on Losing the Texas US Senate Race in 2020

A few weeks ago, I wrote about why MJ Hegar would be a much better candidate than Wendy Davis for the Texas US Senate race in 2020.  Since then, things have shaken up a little bit.  Hegar is becoming a little more interested in challenging Congressman John Carter, who she nearly beat in 2018, a second time.  This largely corresponded with Congressman Joaquin Castro (Former HHS Secretary and current Presidential Candidate Julian Castro’s twin brother) showing more interest in the Senate race.  At the same time, Wendy Davis has still shown an openness to entering the race.

If the Democrats’ main goal is to win the race, Joaquin Castro would be a strong choice.  He is similar to Beto O’Rourke in that while he is progressive, he maintains a willingness to reach out to moderates and voters who aren’t hyper-partisan.  Castro also has an advantage over O’Rourke in that while O’Rourke struggled with Latino voters in his run against Ted Cruz, Castro has done well with that demographic.

EMILY’s List, the Democratic Pro-Choice organization, was not happy with this.  Today, they came out in favor of a Democratic woman representing the Party in this race.  This presumably refers specifically to former Texas State Legislator Wendy Davis, famous for being a pro-choice extremist and for getting trounced by Gov. Greg Abbott in the 2014 Gubernatorial Campaign.

Texas Democrats have a major opportunity in front of them right now.  They just put up their best performance in Statewide elections in several election cycles.  It is very possible that one of their own will be on the Democrats’ Presidential Ticket in 2020.  While Senator Cornyn isn’t as polarizing as Senator Cruz, he is certainly vulnerable under the right circumstances.  Running a candidate most notable for being an abortion extremist and losing by a large margin before is not the right circumstance.  I’m not a Democrat, so it’s not necessarily my skin on the line.  At the same time, though, Texas Democrats (like National Democrats) will have to decide if they want an ideological extremist or a progressive who can win.  In Texas, though, Democrats have a much smaller margin of error, and will have to tread carefully.

Democrats are at risk of blowing the 2020 Texas US Senate Race

Texas Tribune is out with some reporting on the 2020 US Senate race.  MJ Hegar, who had one of the best ads of the cycle last time and nearly defeated John Carter, is contemplating a run.  She may defer to Wendy Davis, though, most famous for being a pro-choice extremist who got crushed by Greg Abbott in 2014.

Wendy Davis would be a horrible mistake for Texas Democrats.  She is an extreme leftist who did nothing to appeal to the middle, and she would lose badly.  Cornyn is already going to be tougher to beat than Cruz (though demographics and probably having Trump on the ballot should help Dems).  Davis would blow all the progress Beto made in 2018, and put Dem House gains in 2018 at risk (hello Lizzie Pannill Fletcher and Colin Allred).

Personally, I tend to think Hegar would not be a bad candidate.  A Texas statewide race is a lot different than a congressional, but she’s a veteran and a political outsider running against a career politician.  She should be able to appeal to Beto voters, particularly with Trump on the top of the ballot.  Another strong choice for Texas Dems would be Beto or Julian Castro if either of them ends up getting out of the Presidential race (or, in Beto’s case, if he passes entirely).  Regardless, if Texas Democrats want to put the Senate seat in play and, in the process, put more Congressional seats in play and maybe even make Texas competitive for a reasonable Presidential candidate, Wendy Davis is the absolute last person they need on the ballot.