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Cornyn has $12 million for reelection bid after raising $2.8 million in fourth quarter


By Patrick Svitek

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, has $12.1 million in the bank for his reelection bid after collecting $2.75 million over the last three months, according to his campaign.

The numbers, first shared with The Texas Tribune on Wednesday, continue to give Cornyn a massive advantage as he awaits the outcome of a crowded Democratic primary. The contenders include MJ Hegar, who announced Tuesday that she raised over $1.1 million in the fourth quarter and has $1 million cash on hand.

No other candidates have shared their fourth-quarter numbers yet ahead of a Friday deadline to report them to the Federal Election Commission.

Detailing his latest haul, Cornyn's campaign said two-thirds of donations came from Texans, 94% of contributions were $100 or less, and his average online donation was $38. Hegar's campaign, meanwhile, said a majority of her contributions continue to come from Texas, nine out of 10 continue to be $100 or less and her average online donation was $22 in the fourth quarter.

Cornyn had just over 19,000 donors during the latest period, while Hegar has accrued over 29,000 donors since launching her bid in April, according to campaign figures. Cornyn's campaign add that "nearly" 12,000 people gave to him in the fourth quarter for the first time this cycle.

While Cornyn faces minimal opposition for his party's nomination, Hegar is fighting to emerge from a 12-way primary that is likely to go to a runoff. She was endorsed late in the fourth quarter — Dec. 16 — by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

"While the DC insiders talk themselves in circles on impeachment, Texans are noticing the massive influx of liberal money – from the DSCC meddling in the Senate race to hundreds of thousands pouring into state legislative races," Cornyn campaign manager John Jackson said in a statement. "Regardless of our opponent, Senator Cornyn will be ready to defend the values that made Texas great versus those of the coastal elites."

A Texas Lyceum poll released Wednesday morning found that the primary continues to be fraught with uncertainty. Forty-two percent of voters are still undecided, and while Hegar leads with 11%, several rivals are clustered behind her. The margin of error for the poll was plus-or-minus 5 percentage points.

Hegar has worked to distinguish herself as the most viable Democrat to face Cornyn, a case she made again when she announced her fourth-quarter haul Tuesday. The candidate said in a statement that she is "proud that the strength of our fundraising has enabled us to build out the strongest operation and put us in the best position to meet the demands of a Texas-sized winning Senate race."

With more than $1.1 million raised, Hegar had her best quarter yet by a small margin. Cornyn's $2.75 million haul was down from the $3.2 million he raised in the third quarter but still marked his second-best three-month stretch of 2019.

While other Democratic candidates have not yet offered their latest fundraising figures, some have given hints. Chris Bell, the former Houston congressman and 2006 gubernatorial nominee, has said he raised "around the same" as what he did in the previous quarter, which was $207,000. The campaign of progressive organizer Cristina TzintzĂșn Ramirez has said she was expected to have raised $1 million total after the fourth quarter, meaning she would have collected at least $541,000 during that three-month period.

This article originally appeared at the Texas Tribune.

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